Huntsman Picks Director of Utah Tourism Office

Huntsman Picks Director of Utah Tourism Office

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah Film Commission director Leigh von der Esch has been tapped to be the state's tourism chief.

Gov. Jon Huntsman announced his selection yesterday during a Utah Tourism Conference in Cedar City.

Von der Esch will continue to oversee the film commission while assuming her new duties July 1.

That's when the film commission and the tourism office will be folded into Huntsman's new consolidated Office of Economic Development.

Von der Esch will guide the spending of 18(M) million dollars set aside by legislators for the next two years to tout Utah to tourists.

By von der Esch's reckoning, it should be an easy sell. Utah, she says, has a lot to brag about.

Utah's beefed-up tourism budget is a marked improvement from the less than $1 million lawmakers allocated in past years.

It will target the United Kingdom, Germany and Asia -- places where interest in Utah traditionally has been strong.

Huntsman hopes it boosts the 5(B) billion dollars dropped by tourists in Utah each year by another billion dollars.

That's extra money the state can use to help pay for education and transportation.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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