BRYCE CANYON — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert will join hundreds of tourism representatives and elected officials from across the state in Bryce Canyon this week for the 2015 Utah Tourism Conference.
Hosted by the Utah Office of Tourism and the Utah Tourism Industry Association, the three-day conference started Tuesday and runs through Thursday. The sold-out educational retreat attracts employees from regional tourism offices, hotels, restaurants, tour operators, ski resorts and retail organizations.
“Given the recent success of Utah’s ‘Mighty 5’ tourism initiative, it’s only fitting that this year’s conference should be located on the doorstep of Bryce Canyon National Park,” Falyn Owens, executive director of the Garfield County Tourism Office, said. “It’s the perfect setting to build friendships, improve our craft and explore the great outdoors.”
The “Mighty 5” ad campaign highlighted the importance of Utah’s five national parks, which collectively attract more than 7 million visitors each year, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Interior Department.
As an industry, tourism supports one out of every 10 jobs in Utah and infuses an estimated $7.4 billion into Utah’s economy every year through traveler spending, according to a 2014 study from the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Utah.
The conference’s theme, “Road Map to Building Utah Life Elevated,” will be introduced Tuesday evening during an extra scenic opening reception held on the rim of Bryce Canyon. The event will include an authentic cowboy cookout and live entertainment.
“The conference is a great opportunity for us to really focus inward as an industry,” Nan Groves Anderson, UTIA’s executive director, said. “The theme reminds us to enhance our industry relationships and support Utah’s wonderful wilderness attractions.”
In addition to learning about the latest trends and ideas in travel marketing, attendees will also be encouraged to experience Garfield County’s famous landscape and larger-than-life adventures. Ruby’s Inn will provide the lodging, meals, meeting space and activities for the conference.
“We’ve thought of every detail and are excited to roll out the red carpet for our fellow tourism professionals,” said Lance Syrett, tourism board member and general manager of Ruby’s Inn. “We can’t wait for our conference guests to experience the scenic wonders of Garfield County.”
Another unique treat for conferencegoers will be an exclusive stargazing activity to take advantage of Bryce Canyon’s world-renowned stargazing. “Dark Rangers” from the national park will be on hand with a number of telescopes to provide brilliant views of the galaxy Andromeda, Jupiter, Venus and thousands of stars.
Other activity options include ranger-guided hikes, ATV rides, bike tours and horseback rides. Guest speakers include Olympic speedskater Derek Parra and Visit Salt Lake’s Scott Beck, who is currently serving as board chair of the Destination Marketing Association International.
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