Utah Department of Tourism announces recipients of matching funds

The Wave at Coyote Buttes North | St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Board of Tourism Development, part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, has announced the recipients of more than $3.4 million in matching funds as part of its cooperative marketing program to promote visitation to Utah by out-of-state travelers and extend the Utah brand.

“These funds help rural and urban counties and other non-profit partners across the state develop robust marketing campaigns to draw visitors to their key tourist attractions,” Vicki Varela, Managing Director, Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding, said. “These promotions are integral to Utah’s thriving tourism industry, which last year generated $1.09 billion in state and local taxes.”

The Utah Board of Tourism Development voted to award the funding, provided through the Tourism Marketing Performance Fund as part of its cooperative marketing program, with an additional $850,000 to be awarded later this month through the Utah Office of Tourism’s cafeteria program.

Created in 2005, the Tourism Marketing Performance Fund has approved 539 awards totaling $26.6 million to county destination marketing organizations, convention and visitors bureaus, and tourism-related non-profits for 28 of the 29 counties throughout the state.

Individual awards range from $1,334 (for Discovery Gateway) to $282,149 (for Ski Utah) and are matched dollar for dollar by the recipients to promote a full spectrum of tourism activities. They support everything from festivals and museums to outdoor recreation programs throughout the state. A full list of recipients and summary of programming is available upon request.

A record 70 applications were submitted this year, with 68 applications receiving awards. 22 of Utah’s 29 counties received funding with rural counties receiving about 40 percent of the awards.

New this year, the cooperative marketing committee approved the Jump Start Co-op Program to assist counties with annual transient room tax totals of less than $40,000. Funding requests are matched by a ratio of up to 3-to-1 for this program in recognition that the counties that fall into this category need an extra boost to jump-start their tourism economies. Piute County was approved for Jump Start funding this year, and the committee hopes to continue and grow the program next year.

The Utah Office of Tourism also helps tourism partners market their programs through a cafeteria program, which allows tourism partners who don’t have a large budget for international marketing, or even for those partners with large budgets but without an international strategy, to reach an international audience.

Cafeteria program applications are due Aug 19.  These awards will provide an additional $850,000 in matching funds for tourism marketing for a total of more than $4.2 million in awards from the Tourism Marketing Performance Fund this year.

Funding from the cafeteria program will be used toward a partnership with Brand USA, a co-op program that multiplies Utah Office of Tourism advertising dollars through a coordinated effort to advertise United States tourism opportunities in international markets.  Many of the funds are matched 1-to-1 by Brand USA, sometimes tripling the amount of the original investment in tourism marketing.

About the Utah Office of Tourism

The Utah Office of Tourism, an agency within the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, promotes out-of-state visitation to Utah through integrated communications, marketing and travel trade initiatives. Tourism in Utah is a $7.98 billion industry, which last year generated $1.09 billion in state and local tax revenue.  The Utah tourism industry employs an estimated 137,000 Utahns.

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  • [email protected] August 14, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Another reminder of the positive impact of tourism on our local economy. Unfortunately, most of the employment associated with hospitality is relatively low-wage hourly employment, with minimal benefits.

  • Pheo August 14, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    The Wave is in Arizona.

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