Primer on the Utah Office of Tourism, its Programs, and the Resources the Office Provides

Primer on the Utah Office of Tourism, its Programs, and the Resources the Office Provides

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Hi everyone, on behalf of the Institute of Outdoor  Recreation and Tourism, or IORT at Utah State   University, we welcome you to the sixth of nine  sessions of the Red Emerald Resilience Training   Program. I'm Danya Rumore, the director of The  Wallace Stegner Center's Environmental Dispute   Resolution Program at the University of Utah.  I'm an IORT partner, and I will be facilitating   today's session. To start us off, we want to  highlight that this training series is supported   by the Utah Office of Tourism's Destination  Development and Partner Relations team.  

We also want to give you a little background  for the Red Emerald Resilience Training series.   As many of you may know, probably all too  well, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in   serious economic setbacks and challenges for the  tourism industry and many destination communities   throughout Utah and across the nation many  businesses and tourism organizations are   still recovering from or learning how to adapt in  this post-pandemic world. To address this need,   the Utah Office of Tourism and IORT came together  to build this webinar training series with the   purpose of helping Utah's tourism industry and  local businesses recover from COVID-19 and become   more resilient to future shocks. We consulted with  industry leaders and business owners throughout  

the state via interviews and a survey, and we  use what we heard to to inform the creation of   this series. The topics and design of the training  sessions reflect what we heard was most important.   Our ultimate hope in conducting this training  series is that through sharing best practices,   strategies, Lessons Learned and success stories,  we can help Utah's tourism industry and businesses   thrive in an ever-changing world. For  the full training program you can see   our website. I'm going to post that into the chat  for everyone so you'll have a link to the website,  

so check that out if you want to learn more. This  training series is organized into three segments.   The first segment focused on communication  for resilience, this second segment focuses   on resources for resilience, and the third  segment will be on planning for resilience.   Today's session is the last in our series on  resources for resilience and will provide a primer   on the Utah Office of Tourism, it's programs,  and the resources that the office provides.  

As with all of our sessions, this session is  particularly targeted towards people working in   and with the tourism industry, however we expect  the content of today's session will be relevant   for anyone interested in this topic. Today we  are joined by three special guests from the Utah   Office of Tourism, which I will from time to time  refer to as UOT, who will be sharing their wisdom   and expertise as well as the resources that are  available from their office. Our speakers today   are: Bianca Lyon UOT's Director of Community and  Partner Relations, Selena Sinclair the office's   Partner Relations lead, and Flint Timmins,  the office's Destination Development lead. Our   speakers will join us in a moment, for now I just  want to say thank you to all of them for being   willing to join us today to share their wisdom  for the audience. A few important things to note   as we get started: this session is being recorded,  we will share the session recording along with a   webinar summary via the training website after the  event. In a moment we are going to jump into the   presentation, and throughout the presentation  we really hope that those of you on the live   webinar will engage and interact with us. So how  we're going to do that is we're going to have  

some questions we're going to pitch to you via the  chat function and zoom, we really want to get some   input from you about what you're experiencing,  what you're thinking, what you care about,   so again we're going to do that via the chat  function and if you have specific questions for   the panelists during the presentation we're going  to ask you to put those in the Q&A function on   chat, or, excuse me sorry, the Q&A function on  Zoom so you can find the chat function and the   Q&A function on the bottom of your Zoom screen. To  recap again, we're going to pitch some questions   to you I'm going to do that via chat so when you  see those questions type your response into chat.   Make sure your responses are going to everyone  and you can enter those that way and then if you   have questions for the panelists please open the  Q&A function and put those questions in there.  

So let's give this audience engagement a try, I'm  going to ask everybody to get your chat open. You   can use the chat button on the bottom of your Zoom  screen, please click on that, open that up. Please   make sure that your chats are going to everyone so  you should see that option in the chat function.   And my first question to you all via chat is: In  what ways do you currently work with the Office   of Tourism? So you can think of that as whether  you use their resources, data, have partnered   with them, so I'd love for everyone just to take  a moment type something into the chat. If you   haven't worked with the office, that's fine you  can put that in there too. Take a moment type that  

into chat. Doesn't need to be a long response.  And whenever you're ready you can just hit enter.   And then as people's responses come in we  can watch and see what people have to say. Give us about 20-30 seconds to get some things in   the chat. I'm already seeing people  saying data and grant resources. Seeing using their resources getting  information on market changes   committees along with the office. Gonna give about 10 more seconds to get some more  responses and we'd love to hear from you all.

A few more responses coming in, again lots of  people saying resources, market information,   partnerships. Some words reoccurring here, PR  opportunities, I think we'll hit on a lot of these   things today so if you're not already partnering  with office of tourism in these ways you'll learn   how you can. I'm going to pitch another question  to you all and would love to see some audience   engagement, thanks to those of you who are sharing  your responses, I will note that our panelists are   watching what's coming in in the chat and they  might build on the things that they see, so it's   a good chance to inform the panelists so they can  respond to what's coming in. So next question,   this is a long one, but basically it's a  two-point question, what resources, so people   mention they're using resources, what resources  such as information, funding, consultation,   partnership would you like to see more of from  the Office of Tourism, and/or what needs or   opportunities in your organization or community  can the Office of Tourism best help with? This   question came from the Office of Tourism. They are  hoping to get some feedback from you all today to  

inform their future efforts. So I'm going to give  you just a little bit of time, I know that's a   longer question so I'm going to give a little bit  more time and hopefully we can get some responses   in via chat. Again, just a reminder to make  sure that your responses are going to everyone. And seeing responses come in, I'm going  to give us about 30 more seconds again I   know it can take a little time to enter a  response. I'm seeing responses coming in,   primarily like to see trends in  people coming in and out of the state,   the and the economic impact there. I will note  that the Office of Tourism is not promising to   do these things, and they're going to take this  feedback very seriously. Seeing the responses of   want more consultation and again that interest in  market changes, international travel potential.

Just a little bit more time for folks to get some   responses entered. Thanks  to those of you who have. Seeing an interest in first responder  and infrastructure assistance. I will   note that our next red emerald training series  session is on housing for tourism employees,   so that kind of ties into some of those related  concerns. We'll talk more about that as we close   it today's session. All right if anybody else  has additional thoughts, now's a great time to   get those entered, and before we get started  I have just one more question for everybody: Okay final question for you all just to help  inform the rest of our session together,   we'd love to hear from folks just what's one  thing you're hoping to get out of today's webinar? Take a moment type your response and I'll  give just about 30 seconds for this one. Give about 15 more seconds for folks to enter  things, again this is your chance to inform what   the speakers might focus on so thanks to those  of you who are sharing thoughts. While a few more  

come in, I'm just seeing Office of Tourism sharing  their resource opportunities and details, I think   you'll get plenty of that today. Just additional  knowledge about Office of Tourism, I think we can   hit that aspiration. Updates from the Office of  Tourism and what they're focusing on, how small   specialty companies can grow through, um, not  sure if that's meant to be the Office of Tourism,   and continue to learn what Office of Tourism  offers local businesses. So again I think we'll   hit on those things, just a note to our speakers  that those were some of the aspirations. As we go   forwards, when the speakers join us I would just  encourage you again to riff off anything you've   seen in the chat if that's relevant. And then  finally, just so we all know what to expect,   today's presentation has been prepared jointly by  our speakers. In a moment they will all come on  

they're going to just kind of riff off of each  other as they go through and they're going to   um share slides along the way. So hopefully,  as always, we have no technical difficulties   and everything works smoothly. So before we start  just a final reminder to submit your questions to   the speaker's via the Q&A function we should have  time at the end of today's presentation to respond   to those questions. So with that I am going to  turn it over to our speakers, I'm going to ask   our speakers to come on, to turn your videos  on, make sure your audio is working. And while   they do that just again want to remind us that we  are being joined by Bianca Lyon, the Director of   Community and Partner Relations for the Office  of Tourism, Selena Sinclair, Partner Relations   lead with the Office of Tourism, and Flint  Timmins, the Destination Development lead with   the Office of Tourism. So with that I'm passing  it over to you. Thank you all for joining us. Great, well we're gonna get our  presentation rolling one moment.

Um Danya did such a great job of introducing  our team, but my name is Bianca. I'm happy to   be part of this program with you today  and just want to thank the Institute of   Outdoor Recreation and Tourism once again  for their partnership through this series.   We think it's been a great benefit to the  state and it's certainly been a benefit to us.   And we'll reference some of the other  discussions that we've had throughout   the series and highlight a few more  and so we're just grateful to IORT,   The Institute of Outdoor Recreation  and Tourism for their partnership.  

So again, Danya did a great job of introducing  our team, if you don't want to advance the slides   flint, we are the destination of partner  relations team. Again, my name is Bianca,   and with me on the presentation today is Selena  Sinclair, our Partner Relations lead and Flint   Timmins, the Destination Development lead.  We're the newest Department I suppose of the   Utah Office of Tourism, and we're here on  behalf of our entire office, our colleagues   here at the youth office of Tourism. We're really  excited to familiarize you more with our team and   all the functions that our office does, and  tell you a little bit more about our goals.

So just to kind of keep things on a high level, we  thought it'd be helpful just to share with you our   vision, and our mission statement. Our vision is a  state United and welcoming the world to experience   soul awakening adventure, and our mission is to  elevate life in Utah through responsible tourism   stewardship. And if you'll go to the next slide,  we'll see that that all comes from our red emerald   strategic plan. In 2019 we we further refined and  developed the strategy that is the basically the   blueprint for our office, for our goals and for  our projects, and certainly for all the work that   we're doing. So you'll see here that we have kind  of four areas where we're focusing our efforts:   one is to continue our powerful branding, and  we'll talk a little bit about what that means   later in the presentation. But to keep  our marketing strong, to keep uh Utah   um top of mind for visitors, and  to continue that that powerful   that powerful brand to our visitors  both domestically and internationally.  

The second is to prioritize quality visitation,  not just quantity of visitors. And that happens   in a lot of different ways that's certainly  in the refinement of our marketing strategy,   but also I think the work that our team does  to really um to really develop communities in   the way that they intend their communities to to  accept visitors and to really inspire people to be   thoughtful in their travels. The third is, again,  to distribute visitation that means certainly   throughout the state of Utah to communities who  are prepared to receive them, but it also means   um the time of day in which perhaps visitors are  coming and that's a great example of why dark sky   tourism is such a priority for our office, is it  does encourage that thoughtful type of visitation   to different times of day and can certainly mean  different types of year as well. And the fourth is   to enable community-led visitor readiness, and  this is something that we're really focused on   in our team, helping our communities develop their  tourism economies in the way that they would like. So this is a little bit of a recap  of where our marketing comes from,   each year we receive funding from the state  legislature. These are two kind of figures here   on the right hand side. We typically are around  22.8 million dollars and that's what we received  

in this last legislative session and that goes to  fund the majority of our marketing as an office,   but you will see here that the sports commission  will receive 10 percent of that of that funding.   For those who aren't familiar with the Utah Sports  Commission, they seek major sporting events and   try to attract those major sporting events to the  state. The 20 percent that is dedicated towards   our co-op marketing fund, we'll talk a little  bit about that later on in the presentation   and many of you on the call are perhaps  familiar with the the co-op marketing fund.   That allows us to match local dollars to support  locally led tourism initiatives. And then the   rest of our marketing functions are funded  through that 70 percent in that dark blue space.

So I will hand this next part off to Selena  Sinclair and she'll talk a little bit more about   what we're doing in the partner relations realm.  Great thanks Bianca. For all of your information,   we are now going to break down the next sections  of the presentation by our individual teams,   so we're going to start with  our own team. Go ahead Flint. So you'll be hearing a lot about the resources  that we offer today, there's going to be a lot,   but I'm here to reassure you that the information  for all the topics that we're going to discuss   today can be found on our industry website  which is travel.utah.gov. Additionally,   you'll see that little orange box at the bottom of  the screen we have put one on each of the slides.   This helps you identify who our key staff member  is that's responsible for the action or program,   to help you all get in better contact with an  individual if you're interested in learning   more about a specific program. So, within the  partner relations space, we've been working   on some really cool new projects. One being  our industry toolkits. We've developed two  

within the last year: one being agrotourism, the  second being dark skies. They provide information   on things like visitor profiles, access to  photo libraries, shareable digital content,   and are a great year-round resource, available  again on our industry website. Additionally we've   been working on industry voice resources like  this program, the Red Emerald Resilience Program,   in partnership with the Institute  of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism,   and we're grateful for all of your participation  that you've shown through this program.  

Finally, I want to make sure that we're extending  an invitation to you all to join us at the Utah   Tourism Conference. This conference is held  in partnership with the Utah Tourism Industry   Association, known as UTIA. It is being held  September 27th through the 30th in Vernal Utah,   and more information and registration links  can be found at utahtourismconference.com. Thanks Selena, so a little bit of what  I'm doing and focused on on my side of   things is to help execute on our "Forever  Mighty" responsible travel and stewardship   initiative. And you can see here, and I  won't go through every single bullet point,  

but we're essentially focused on creating  those quality visitors that our strategic plan   is is asking us to do. Supporting local business,  and really celebrating the diversity of our   communities and the diversity of our travelers. So  maybe some of you have heard about it. If any of   you have listened to our April series with the  Red Emerald Resilience webinar, we talk a lot   about responsible travel messaging. We talked  a little bit about Forever Mighty and you can   go back and listen to that session if you'd  like. I highly recommend that you do, but it's   a really important priority for our office and  perhaps you've seen it in some of our marketing.

And then under what I do for the office of Tourism  is our destination development programming. We   offer some grants for communities, these are  available at a county or municipal level,   where we can help communities with technical  assistance. To identify what role do they want   tourism to play in their community, and what  is the future of tourism is there. This is   for destinations whether they're large or small,  urban or rural, established or just beginning. We   have a community assessment option where we will  sort of secret shop a community to see, you know,   from an outsider's perspective, how is tourism  doing in the community. How are the offerings?   how is the destination? Is there information  available? I sort of refer to this as ripping   off the band-aid for tourism. This is really  helpful to really provide a fresh perspective in  

a destination about how a out of state visitor,  or a visitor from outside the community, might   perceive the community. We also help provide  technical assistance for strategic planning   to come up with long-term plans for the future  of developing and managing the destination. We   work with a really well respected and established  vendor in this field who will assist communities   in in facilitating conversations to identify  what is our tourism goal in the community, and   what are steps we can take to achieve that goal.  We've worked with several communities across the  

state of all varieties and we're really excited to  continue doing that this year. We're working with   Millard County, Morgan County, and Iron County on  this. Similarly to that, we also provide branding   assistance. Branding and marketing development  assistance. We work with a vendor to help create a   brand, refresh a brand, or come up with marketing  plans so that those communities can take their   marketing dollars and more, target them more  closely to their goals and identify what is the   best use of those resources in order to attract  the visitor that we want in our community. We also  

help communities develop their new products,  to provide new experiences for visitors,   and to identify what are some of the needs for  new experiences whether those are on public lands,   recreation, dining or entertainment or otherwise.  All of this, you know, our goal as as Bianca   talked about in the Red Emerald Strategic Plan, is  to have this be community-led but State supported.   This isn't the Utah Office of Tourism coming in  to determine what the role of every destination   is in the state perspective. You know we're  not out there saying, "you will be a mountain  

biking destination, while you will be a historic  destination, and you will be a food destination,"   it's really getting citizens together to really  determine what role do they want tourism to play   in their community, and how it fits into  the broader community development picture. Part of what we're able to do with that is to  pursue grant opportunities, and provide new   resources for communities. And something that  is new for us this year is a Federal grant from   the Economic Development Administration or EDA.  For the first time ever this year they are able   to make their funding available to tourism,  into these and specifically for marketing and   developments and that's something that they've  never really been able to do before. So as part  

of a federal grant that was intended to increase  the the recovery and resilience of the tourism   industry, we were able to receive a nearly 4  million dollar grant to create new destination   management programming, in addition to the ones I  just covered. So some of these grant opportunities   could cover feasibility, or economic impact  studies for tourism product within the state. So   for example, a destination may be curious about  the feasibility of developing new equestrian   trails on public lands nearby, or they may be  interested in identifying what is the economic   impact of agrotourism in our community currently,  and is this worth investing more funding into,   more resources. Along with that we will also be  hosting product development studios, where we can   assist communities coming together to identify  new product, and similar to the strategic plan,   what are the steps necessary in order to implement  that new product. Maybe that is an agrotourism  

trail. Maybe that is highlighting new cultural  heritage opportunities to make sure that we are   telling our story in a way that is attractive  and educational to out-of-state visitors.   Implementation of projects is always a necessary  area for funding, and so we are providing some   implementation grants to help start implementing  some of those action items that are identified   in the studies, in the studios, together, so that  we can begin to really put rubber to the road and   and start along our tourism journey. A fourth  program that we're really excited about is what  

we're preliminarily calling the Certified  Community Program. And what this focuses on   are product types, you know, whether that is  agrotourism, perhaps it's cultural heritage,   maybe it's outdoor recreation, and this  will be a certification that comes from   our office as well as our sister agencies  and state government where we can certify   that a community has met certain criteria whether  that is in stewardship or infrastructure, to say   that they are a good destination for this type of  activity. Not only does it serve as a marketing   opportunity for the community to say that they've  been certified and stand out apart from the field,   but it also symbolizes sort of a voucher or  a guarantee to visitors that they will have a   certain level of experience, and that is something  that especially for newer destinations who are   just starting along this path, there might be some  hesitation on part of visitors to go to somewhere   new that they haven't heard before. And we see  that's why we get so much visitation to certain   hot spots, because it's been established and  there's a reputation there. A Certified Community  

Program will help newer destinations or off  the beaten path destinations really be able   to get a foot in the door and put their name out  there as quality destination. These will be open   to public and non-profit organizations it will be  a competitive grant process, and the application   period begins on September 1st. There's a lot  more to go with these programs, we didn't want   to swamp you with them todaym but we will be  holding another webinar on August 16th from the   Utah office of Tourism and you can look for more  information about that coming from UOT channels.  

Thank you. So I will continue on our marketing  team. As we saw in the the budget slide,   a lot of our efforts go to marketing. We have a  tourism management or marketing performance fund   that most of our budget is dedicated to, and  marketing is one of the chief roles of the   Utah Office of Tourism, to market the state of  Utah and its local communities as destinations,   desirable destinations, for out-of-state  visitors. So those might come from other   states in the United States, or they may  come from other countries around the world.  

We have several brands and campaigns that might  be familiar to many of you watching right now   that we use to to do that, to get our name out  there and to associate a brand and reputation to   the state of Utah. "Life Elevated" which debuted  in the early 2000s and is on many of our license   plates, "The greatest snow on earth" to advocate  for Utah skiing, "The Mighty 5 National Parks,"   and as Bianca mentioned, our newer sustainability  and responsible visitation messaging of "Forever   Mighty." All these brands have different roles,  and campaigns have different roles to speak to   different audiences but they all work together  to responsibly market Utah as a destination and   really identify and reach those visitors who are  going to best enjoy and treat Utah on their trips.

One of the ways that we support that and we  saw that many of our viewers are interested   in this metric is to provide data and research  on traveling and how the industry is performing   and who is visiting Utah and what are they doing.  Our metrics are available on our web our industry   website travel.utah.gov and there you can find  lots of really helpful information for both   local communities, as well as businesses. You  can identify you can see visitor profiles who   is visiting Utah and sort of what are their  demographics. Are they traveling solo or in  

families, for instance. You can identify their  tourism impact both statewide as well as in county   specific level in various profiles that we have  available to identify numbers of visitors as well   as spending and categories of spending. We provide  information on hotel lodging, occupancy and rates,   park visitation to our national and state park  units, international visitation, again numbers   and where are they coming from. Earlier this  year we under we undertook a resident sentiment   survey to identify how do residents of Utah view  tourism and its impact and lots of other data this   is really just at the tip of the iceberg.  Denise Jordan, our marketing analytics and   research manager actually did one of a webinar  in this series, I believe last month in July,   where she went more in depth about the resources  that we have available. So again we have a lot of  

this data on our website and and if you need more  specifics you're welcome to reach out to our team. So the most well-known funding opportunity for our  office I would believe would be our cooperative   marketing program, and that's because it's been  around since 2005 so it's really well established.   And it's that 20 percent of the pie chart that you  saw represented when Bianca was talking through   the tourism marketing performance fund and how  our office is funded. And so what that does is   it provides one-to-one matching funding with  local dollars to UOT dollars for tourism-related   public sector organizations and non-profits  to do marketing efforts and programming.  

And so we are currently wrapping up this  year's round of the cooperative marketing   program. Funding awards for this year will  be announced during our board meeting that   is taking place on Friday August 12th at  the Land Cruiser Museum in Salt Lake City.   The program is run in Partnership between  Kelly Day, our Cooperative marketing manager,   and myself as the partner relations lead,  and we would be happy to discuss any ideas   um any additional information around this  grant funding opportunity in particular. So I'm going to talk a little bit about the great  work happening on our creative and content team.  

The first and probably the most widely  recognized tool in the creative toolbox   is visitutah.com. Rosie Serago is our content  strategist, you can see here information in the   upper right hand corner. She oversees all things  um website related, storytelling opportunities,   and really making the website work as hard  as it possibly can to give visitors the right   information that they need to have the best  experience possible. So if you have ideas or   refinements or you see something that doesn't  look correct on on any of your pages that you   see on our website, Rosie's a great person  to reach out to, of course you can always   reach out to our team, but Rosie's a great  person to answer any questions on the website.

Of course our social media tools are an incredible  incredible resource as well uh Ariana Reese,   I've mispronounced her name, oversees our  social media content both organic and paid,   and oversees our contract with Sparkoff Media,  who's our social media agency of record.   So those are those are anything from,  you know, those organic posts to   ambassador and influencer programs, she oversees  all of those opportunities for our office. And last but certainly not least is public  relations. And a few folks in the chat referenced   PR. Anna Lockridge is our public relations manager  and tells the Utah story in the public relations   space domestically, and you can see a couple  examples of the great work that she's done to   tell our story in the dark skies realm. Certainly  getting the forever mighty message to travelers in  

advance of their of their trips, and just sharing  those unique cultural opportunities that are only   found in Utah. So you can see some example of  the media markets that she works with on a pretty   regular basis, and we know that um that through  PR we're really able to put our best foot forward   to tell our stories as a destination. And one  extra thing that isn't really mentioned here but   is also really important part of our PR efforts,  is that over the past year we are spending a lot   of time to get our story right in the in-state  media relations realm, and telling local media   partners what we're doing, what our partners  are doing, and what's important to them. And we   look forward to sharing more examples of all the  great work that's happening in that space as well.   Next we're going to talk about our Global Markets  team, which is also our International team So similar to what Bianca mentioned we're doing  in the content creative space domestically,   we're also sharing those resources those  story leads, that digital content out with   our key international markets. Everything  from securing International journalists   to write stories about Utah, to helping  International tour operators develop new   products for their itineraries when they're  booking guests who come to Utah and visit.

Our key International markets include  Canada, the UK, France, Germany, China,   and Australia. The newest market that we've  been working on and that is the new primary   market is India for us, which is really exciting.  Additionally we focus our efforts into secondary   international markets as well, like Belgium and  Switzerland, and to learn more about the work   that we're doing in the international space I  would highly recommend that you listen to the   recording of the Red Emerald Resilience  Training titled, "How to prepare for the   return of international visitors." You get to hear  from Rachel Bremer, our global markets director,  

as well as a couple of key industry players  in the international space, on what they're   doing to prepare what the preparation timeline  looks like to when we'll start to see a return   of international visitors back to Utah, and it's  a really really helpful pre-recorded resource. All right, then we also have a customer  service team here in Utah Office of Tourism,   to have direct communications with visitors and  help answer their questions and direct them to   the right resources, so our we have our customer  service team led by Dave Hansford here in office,   and they really you know can communicate with  our with our visitors on every level through   phone calls through email through virtual chat via  our our website and also mailing out information,   they are also in charge of distributing visitor  guides and other physical information resources   directly to visitors here at Council Hall in Salt  Lake City where our office is located, as well as   locally run and managed visitor centers across  the state so that we can distribute information   on the state to destinations all around. They  are also great at directing our visitors to the   right resources whether that's a local tourism  office or a local business or experience or   attraction. So one way to find out more about our  office is to subscribe to our official Office of   Tourism partner newsletter for information and  industry updates. This goes out pretty regularly   with information not only from our office but  the industry at large to help keep folks up to   date and in the know on the programs that we've  discussed, as well as other opportunities that   arise from us and partners. Of course it's not  the only way to keep in touch with us, we have our  

our industry website is a really great resource  as well to find that information and of course   reaching out to to us in the office with specific  questions. Bianca, Selena, anything else to add?   We covered all the major points. All right well then with that we're gonna  open it up for some audience Q&A and just a   little panel conversation. I do want to remind our  audience if you have questions for the panelists,  

if you want to hear more about certain  things please put that in the Q&A and   we should have time to respond to that. So  to get us started with this conversation,   I want to just highlight you covered a lot of  material, the Office of Tourism does a lot of   things, I just learned a lot and I've worked with  Office of Tourism for many years, so I'm curious   to hear from panelists what you each think are  a few of the most important things for people to   understand about how the Utah Office of Tourism  can support local businesses, local governments,   and others working in Utah's tourism industry?  What are a few things we want to highlight?   I guess I'll start, and I'm excited to hear  Flint and Selena's ideas, perhaps a lot of   them are the same. We talked a lot about  the resources that we have on our website,   but I think following us on our  newsletter is a great way to stay   apprised of what our office is doing,  and the tourism conference is also just   a great opportunity. If you're not already  familiar in the in the ecosystem of tourism,  

it's very accessible it's very friendly and it's  very open, and I think that's what we all enjoy   and love about this field of work. So if you've  never attended or you don't attend regularly,   we would just extend a warm welcome again to  join us at the conference introduce yourselves   if you don't already have a personal relationship  with us, and and we'll really get the most out   of your experience when when you can have those  real life discussions and interactions with us.   I think I would like to to highlight that Utah  office of Tourism is not a regulatory agency,   so we're not out there trying to make sure that  everybody's paying the right taxes or you know   are out there treating you know visitors a certain  way according to law, you know obviously we want   them to treat them well, but you know we're  not a regulatory agency out there trying to   make sure that everybody's complying. We are a  marketing agency trying to invite folks to the   state and we want to partner with our our local  businesses and communities because that's what   makes sense and that's how how it works best. I  think another thing to to highlight there is that   we don't always have a lot of grant funding that  is available to private business, and this is done   through statute through state law. So we  aren't able to provide grants directly   to a hotel for instance for renovations, but  we are able to support them through the data   that we've highlighted and some of these other  resources and working with the local communities.  

You know we don't have oversight over local  tourism offices at the county or city level,   but we can partner with them and share  that information so that those services   can then be offered at the local level  where we feel they are most effective.   The last thing I'll add is that the Utah Office  of Tourism staff does really practice what we   preach. You are hard-pressed to not find a  member of our staff who is not out and about   traveling into your destinations, experiencing  your communities for their personal time not only   their professional time, and so we really pride  ourselves on on knowing our state well knowing   our destinations well, but we need you all to  support us in that as well and making sure that   we're staying up to date on what's happening and  what's new and what's going on for all of you. Great, thank you all for that. Building  on what you've all said again just to kind  

of pull out some things and highlight a few  things, I'm curious how you think businesses   local governments and others involved in  Utah's tourism industry can best stay up   to date with with the Office of Tourism is  doing? Like you mentioned your newsletter,   so what are some of the things that people  who really want to know what you're offering   currently or what you're thinking about  currently should do to stay up to date? I think I'll jump in, you know obviously our  newsletter and our industry website are great   resources. Annually we have our tourism conference  as as Bianca mentioned, and this is a really great   place to network not only with with folks  from our office but also with businesses   and and stakeholders from around the state to get  together talk about common causes and really make   those connections, and you know discuss the  the role and the future of tourism in Utah.   In addition to that, you know we have a board  that helps us make funding decisions and they meet   monthly this is public meetings so we encourage  folks to attend that, to participate, to read up   the minutes on past meetings and provide their  inputs. Help us as a public body best serve our   our our clients, you know our our constituents.  I'll add to Flint's comment that our board is   also a traveling board, so we move throughout  the state each month and are hosted at different   locations. So it's not always you all coming  and commuting to Salt Lake to be with us,  

we're trying to travel out with our board to  see you and host in your destinations as well. And as a team I will say we have the the  pleasure of doing our own visits throughout   the state. We've already met many of you on those  travels, we can't wait to do more of that, so   let us know if you if you have an  opportunity in your community that   you'd like us to see and we would be happy  to to make a special visit to see you. So I want to take a couple questions  that are here from the audience. I'm  

going to start with this one, there's a  question saying we used to be able to get   mailing lists from the Office of Tourism but  that stopped a few years ago. Is there any   chance that we'll become a possibility  again or was that mixed permanently? Yeah I think that is a good question. That  might have been before my time at least   so I think that is something that we can check  into for sure and get back to you on that. And I would just say I know that the Office of  Tourism staff are very accessible if you have   questions or thoughts like that I'm guessing  there's a conversation that can be had with   with their appropriate staff members.  So another question from the audience:  

can you give a direct example of a project  done with the experiential product development   program? Maybe you could talk about that program  a little bit give us a little more information.   Yeah for sure yeah we cover that under the  destination development technical assistance   offerings that we have, and this one was a bit  less organized and formal than some of those other   ones, you know we didn't have a dedicated vendor  to it and again we aren't able to provide direct   resources and funding to you know businesses  for instance to develop their product, but   we are available to consult on these and discuss  options and connect to the right resources and   make sure that we are good partners on this. I  think astrotourism is something that has come up   quite a bit around the state of folks who are you  know different attractions who are interested in   um in incorporating some dark sky or astrotourism  into their product offerings and again you know   we're not able to provide funding, you  know, to purchase new light fixtures for   instance but we are able to connect them to  the right resources such as (unknown) energy   to the dark sky cooperatives that  are located here in the state,   so it is more of a technical assistance program  where we can help make those connections. Selena, Bianca, anything you want to add  there? Nope I think Flint got it right.   So one thing I've been thinking a lot about is the  Office of Tourism works with a lot of different   partner organizations, and obviously some of  those partners are people who this training   program is serving but they're also sort of  bigger organizations, and I'm just curious   if you all can talk a little bit about other  organizations that might be helpful for those   working and involved in the tourism industry here  in Utah? And other kind of external resources,   things that you are very aware of and connected to  but not aren't necessarily offered by your office? Yeah, I'll just say on the partnership on the  partnership side of things, that's where we've   really grown our presence with our Forever Mighty  initiative, that's been a really important focus   for us. Finding partners like Leave No Trace and  Tread Lightly, those are really well recognized   non-profit partners who really help us in that  stewardship and responsible recreation zone. But  

we also work really closely with some of our state  agencies and there's some you know really you know   likely partners, the Office of Outdoor Recreation  is of course when we work really closely with, the   Office of Cultural and Community Engagement, the  state's Main Street Historic Main Street program,   and those are just a handful of examples of  the partnerships that we're creating in that   space we just completed a partnership with  the International Dark Sky Association and   their astrophotography contest, so these  are just opportunities for us to really   share Forever Mighty with with new audiences and  really builds the brand of Forever Mighty with   the right types of organizations. But I'm open to  what Flint or Selena have in that space as well. Another form of partnership that's kind of out  of the box but a really essential one for us as   well as our fellow state and local destination  counterparts that are located outside of Utah.   We use them as a resource a lot. Especially  those that are located in the western U.S and  

share similar, you know, issues or problem solving  techniques or demographics to what we have here   in Utah, and so I'm always recommending that you  reach out if there is a local city or destination   or state that may feel similar to what you're  going through, to find those partnerships and   commonalities between them and maybe stepping  outside of our state boundaries as well. Flint, anything you want to add? No I  think it's been covered pretty well,   I guess I will just say that, you know we really  do value these partnerships, you know there's   so much available resources and help and advocacy  from, you know, state, local, federal, non-profit   partners that we really try to you know be really  conscientious and thoughtful about that to make   sure that we are, you know, just doing our work  to be good stewards of the state of Utah together. So just want to remind the audience  we've got time for a few more questions,   if you do have any questions for our speakers  please get those submitted via the Q&A.   I have another question from the from  a participant, have you organized an   effort to advocate for funding assistance  for destination communities to provide   adequate levels of service when their populations  increase drastically during high tourism season? Thoughts about that? Yeah it's it's a really  great question, and you know this is really   where destination management and development  come into play. These are sort of newer terms  

in the tourism industry. You know they've been  around for a few years but it really is about   making our destinations better prepared and  resilient to shocks to the tourism industry,   but also to make sure that they are the  type of livable and viable communities   that they want to be, and part of that is making  sure that they are able to handle the tourism   loads that they have, whether that is year-round  or seasonal. We want to make sure that communities   really understand and residents and visitors  as well understand that impact. So part of that  

is with working with communities to make sure  that they are planning for this, to make sure   that they are understanding that community that  destination development is community development   and community development has an impact on their  impact of tourism. So we want to make sure that   communities are planning for these things, that  they are accessing the resources and applying   them to tourism. So for instance there may  be transportation funding that can be used   to address a tourism issue, and that hasn't always  been a connection made. We want to make sure that   our communities are thinking holistically about  tourism and understand that they can help guide   it instead of simply react to it. One other  important partnership that I think is worth   mentioning is with our industry association. It's  the Utah Tourism Industry Association, for those  

who don't know UTIA is the often used acronym.  They also advocate for issues for our industry and   I think the programs that we're creating  under this federal funding is giving us an   opportunity to demonstrate why these Investments  are are helpful long term, so I think that's why   we are really excited to use those funds in  new and different ways, to demonstrate that   there's that need for investment sometime in the  future. So I think that was a really thoughtful   question and well well answered by Flint  as well. Selena any other thoughts on that?

Excellent, we have time for I'm going to ask a  final question and we'll have some time for each   of the panelists to respond to link there response  if they want to, before we do that I just want   to note that there was a question about when the  funding deadline for the federal grant funding was   and that got answered in a typed form, so just  want to say this for everybody that it's September   1st through October 31st. Seeing nodding heads,  so we got that right, okay excellent. And I want   to I want to add to that Danya, I think I maybe  didn't mention this in the presentation itself,   but those opportunities will be available  annually for the next five years.   Great, that is an important point. Always good  to plan ahead and know that there's going to be   a funding opportunity in the future that you can  be well positioned for. So my final question to   wrap us up and again we have about five minutes  so if the speakers have more they want to say   to this they can make this a longer answer or it  can be a short one. Just curious to hear from you  

all what you would say is just one final nugget  of wisdom or an actionable takeaway you want to   leave our audience with today? And feel free  to take a moment before you respond to that. I think I have one ready in the can,  which is that we are here to to help   and we want to hear about your needs and  your goals, and we want to be good partners   for you. Whether you are representing  a community in the destination side, or   a business providing services to to visitors  or residents, we want to know how we can best   help you. You know our role is to market the  state, but that doesn't mean come one come all,   you know infinite visitation, we want to  be thoughtful. We want to make sure we're  

attracting the right visitors to your community  and to your business. We want to make sure that   we are being thoughtful of the impacts it's  having on you and we want to make changes to   how we do business in order to make sure that  we are supporting you and what you're doing.   Tourism is an economic development tool, and  if it's no longer supporting our communities   in the way that makes them function the way  that they need to function to support local   families and individuals and communities, then  you know we want to make those changes. So we   want to hear from you, let us know how  we're doing and and what your needs are.

I was   just going to echo that and just to emphasize  the accessibility of our team. Our our smaller   destination and partner relations team that's  here today, but I think just our wider office,   you know that's that's what our strategic plan is  intended to do is to be informed by the feedback   that we're receiving. And the more information we  have, the better we can make decisions as Flint   really said well. So you know reach out to us  establish you know those connections with us and   with others in the industry that will that will  ultimately serve you really well. And get to know,   you know, the resources that we offer if  you don't already and and take advantage   of the great data and research that we  provide. And if you don't know where   to look or how to make use of that  information, we can also be helpful   there too so just to just to let everyone  know that we're here we're here for you.

I'll finally add a push for attending the  Utah tourism conference. You've heard each   one of us bring it up separately throughout this  presentation, I think it emphasizes how important   it is to our industry as far as networking  and connections. A lot of the topics that   we discussed today will be having individual  breakout sessions during the tourism conference   and additional topics that we discussed  through the Q&A will also be to have their   own individual keynote and breakout sessions. So  these are the topics that we're working off of,   trying to provide you more detail more depth  more ways to get involved. If you're a first   time attendee we have a brand new mentorship  program that will pair you with a buddy, so   that you don't have to go it alone. You can have  a familiar face, you can find some guidance along   the way and so it's a really great opportunity  I would highly encourage anyone to attend.

Fantastic, thank you all for that I was going  to ask the follow-up question of of what is   the most effective way for people to communicate  their their needs to you and I think I heard the   answer is just the team is really approachable  ,and really just reach out to somebody who's   working in that area. So really want to leave  with that note of asking the panelists to take   to use this resource right to really follow up  on that offer. So with that I'm going to just   thank each of our speakers. Thank you so much for  your suggestions, your advice, your inspiration,  

for being in the state of Utah as a resource being  great partners, I've had the opportunity to work   with you. So with that speakers I'd invite you  to turn your videos off. You don't have to hang   out here while we wrap it up. Just a few things to  wrap us up, I do want to turn back to the audience   um and just take a moment wait to hear what  you all are taking away from this session.   So we're going to do that again via the chat,  so I'd encourage you to get your chat open if   you don't have it open currently I mean there's a  button at the bottom of Zoom screen you can click   on that open up your chat function, and we just  want to hear from you all via chat. Please make   sure your chats are going to everyone, What is one  key thing you're taking away from today's session?   So take a moment learn something new something  stood out to you think about that when you're   ready to type your response into chat and you  can hit enter whenever you've got that in there.

Gonna give us about 15 more seconds  to get some responses in there,   again I'd love to hear from you  all what you're taking away. Really use those resources that are out  there that maybe you didn't know about,   people interested in learning  more about the EDA Grant. Giving it just a few more seconds  to get a few responses in thanks   to those of you who are sharing your thoughts. All right while maybe a few more responses  come in I am going to wrap us up. So thank   you to the audience for your participation,  again those of you who shared your thoughts   with us and we really love to see  what's going on for the audience.   We hope you all gained some insight from today's  webinar learned some things about the resources   available in the state of Utah. I'm hopefully  taking away some concrete ideas about how you  

can engage with the Office of Tourism and benefit  most from their services. We do want to remind you   all that this webinar is recorded and will be  available on the training program website for   future viewing. Please spread the word share this  with anybody come back and watch it if you forgot   about the resources we will also make the slides  available so those will be there for you. And   just a reminder that that training website URL is  now in the chat there for you that's what it is   so again check that out again there's all the  past sessions information on there as well as   information about our future sessions and speaking  of future sessions. We hope to see you at some  

of our future sessions the next one will be on  September 6th from 12 to 1 o'clock MT and that   session will focus on strategies for providing  affordable housing for tourism industry employees.   I work with a lot of Gateway communities tourism  dependent communities and I know that is a huge   issue, so we hope you will join we hope we  can share some useful information with you all   you can learn more about that session and  register on the training program website. All right so we do want to finally just we  want to get some feedback from you to make   sure that the session is meeting your needs so  after this session closes please look for an   automatic survey that will be sent to your  email. It should take you literally just a  

few minutes to complete and you're doing so will  really help us make sure that our trainings are   helping you and other tourism businesses and  organizations across the state and elsewhere,   so thanks in advance for taking a few minutes to  fill that out. With that a final thanks again to   our panelists to our audience and to the team  that put this together and we hope to see many   of you at our next training session at September  6th. Thanks and have a good rest of your day

2022-08-12 05:36

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