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Utah Tourism Convention attendees discuss strategy, diversity

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Posted at 7:13 PM, May 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-15 00:17:38-04

ST. GEORGE – It’s a multi-billion dollar industry in Utah, and it relies on others visiting the state’s scenic vistas. Tourism directors are in St. George discussing strategy this week at this year’s annual Utah Tourism Convention.

Tourism directors said the industry is growing in Utah, and it’s one that’s grown faster than in other states across the country. Many credit Utah’s diverse opportunities for the global appeal.

“Utah has a really large welcome mat,” said Visit Salt Lake President Scott Beck. “We’re not a one trick pony. From these high mountain deserts we have here in southern Utah, to the incredible skiing and snow in northern Utah, to a heritage and a culture of the west.”

That diversity is the topic of conversation at this year’s convention. Directors will come together and discuss what Utah has to offer.

“6.9 billion dollars,” said Utah office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding Managing Director Vicki Verela. “That is the money that’s spent here by travelers in bed and breakfasts, and hotels and motels.”

This is the first time the conference has come to St. George. It comes after the state tourism office rolled out an ad campaign highlighting some of the area’s biggest draws.

“We’ve got this little tourism magnet called Zion National Park,” said St. George Area Convention and Tourism Office Director Roxie Sherwin.

The commercials also spotlight other national parks: Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches.

Sherwin said much of the local economy relies on tourism, so it’s an industry that constantly needs promotion. But she said it’s also one that works so seamlessly into the community that most don’t realize it’s there.

The Utah Tourism Convention runs through Thursday.