Advertising paying off for Utah tourism industry

Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY -- Attracting tourists in a down economy is a challenge. Utah tourism professionals say now is the time to increase marketing to lure people to the state, and that approach is working.

Southern Utah offers beautiful scenery, warm weather and a unique western experience that's affordable. Tourism pros bank on it.

"Even in this economic downturn right now, our numbers are up in the four corners region, specifically in San Juan County, are up," said Charlie DeLorme, director of Economic Development and Visitor Services for San Juan County.

The numbers were up 15 percent this year and up 28 percent last year, as other tourist destinations suffered. "That's the time to hit it hard, keep your marketing efforts strong, and it's paying off for us in San Juan County," DeLorme said.

International travelers account for 72 percent. "Our international business is rocking," said Cindy Tumeth, who operates the Desert Rose Inn in Bluff.

Tumeth tweets potential clients with photos and invites them to visit. "We do all of our marketing and advertising, and we just invite people. I think that's what social media is, it's more getting out there and inviting them," she said.

Utah Office of Tourism Director Leigh von der Esch agrees. "In this economy, learning about Twittering, tweeting, blogging ... find a quicker way, more cost-effective way to get your message out there," she said.

New numbers from the Utah Tourism Conference in Layton show 70 percent of vacationers will travel to neighboring states for modest getaways.

"Utah has tremendous value, and the traveler today is looking for value," said Leigh von der Esch, director of the Utah Office of Tourism.

While ski season is no longer top of mind, a successful ski season tourism campaign certainly planted Utah in many people's minds.

The clever snowflake campaign gave the state a lot of bang for its buck. Utah skier numbers and revenue were down, but the latest research shows for every dollar spent on the campaign, $20 came back into the economy, and the campaign influenced travelers.

"That's why advertising in a lean economy is so important. Without that advertising, they would not have come to Utah and may not have taken a vacation at all, but certainly wouldn't have come to Utah," von der Esch said.

Utah tourism leaders still believe the state's markets will weather the recession better than most. New international flights and marketing campaigns seem to be making a difference. They say variety and value make Utah a favorite destination.


Most recent Utah stories

Related topics

Jed Boal


    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast