Utah Tourism Marketing Expands to Draw Global Audience

August 17 2016

Salt Lake City – The Utah Board of Tourism Development, part of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, announced today 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. These promotions are integral to Utah’s thriving tourism industry, which last year generated $1.09 billion in state and local taxes,” said Vicki Varela, Managing Director, Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding.

The Utah Board of Tourism Development voted today to award a total of $3,421,134.24 from the Tourism Marketing Performance Fund (TMPF) as part of its cooperative marketing program with an additional $850,000 in additional funding to be awarded later this month through the Utah Office of Tourism’s cafeteria program. Created in 2005, the TMPF program has approved 539 awards totaling $26,624,423.26 to county destination marketing organizations, convention and visitors bureaus, and tourism-related non-profits for 28 of the 29 counties throughout the state.

Today’s 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, and 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 the awards.

New this year, the cooperative marketing committee approved the Jump Start Co-op Program to assist counties with annual TRT totals of less than $40,000. Funding requests are matched by up to 3:1 for this program, recognizing 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 August 19, 2016.  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 TMPF 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 1:1 by Brand USA, sometimes tripling the amount of the original investment in tourism marketing. 

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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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