SALT LAKE CITY – A press release from Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams indicated he was ordering the closure of all exits out of Salt Lake City in order to boost tourism, but the action is the continuation of a joke played on Salt Lake City by a national publication known for its satire.
The Onion published a short video earlier this week that assured visitors to Salt Lake City they could visit but were “Free to Leave” whenever they wanted. The tongue-in-cheek ad touted the benefits of Utah while also assuring potential visitors that they don’t have to stay, unless they want to. FOX 13 News covered the segment, click here for the details. and see below for the segment.
McAdams’ “response,” published by Visit Salt Lake—who is Salt Lake County’s contractor for tourism development, copied the satirical style as it mandated the closure of all exits from Salt Lake City and ordered that future flights into Salt Lake City International Airport be one-way only.
The piece states in part: “’How are we expecting to increase revenue that way?’ an incredulous Mayor McAdams asked tourism board members in an emergency meeting late Thursday night. ‘The amount of revenue this new bill will generate in hotel and restaurant taxes will pay for the closing of all Salt Lake’s exit routes almost immediately. Keeping visitors here indefinitely will help secure our already thriving economy.’”
The “response” from McAdams included images of the spikes commonly used to prevent cars from entering or exiting areas without authorization as well as various jokes and even an allusion to an Eagles’ song.
One joke included McAdams’ defense of the move in the face of criticism: “any loss of potential new tourism dollars will be offset by the revenue our community will collect from the visitors who can never, ever leave. Ever.”
In an online message, McAdams dropped the satirical tone to tell FOX 13 News: “Visit Salt Lake (who is Salt Lake County’s contractor for tourism development) wrote it up and ran it by me last night for approval. I thought it was hilarious.”