With the coronavirus pandemic halting tourism in Utah, state officials discussed marketing plans in a virtual town hall meeting Tuesday.
“We have lots to be optimistic about. People crave what we have here in Utah, and at the right time, we will welcome them here to experience it," Vicki Varela said.
Varela is from the Utah Office of Tourism. She’s one of the state officials who attended the meeting held by the Utah Economic Task Force.
At the meeting, officials discussed how to implement moderate-risk guidelines in businesses, as well as to discuss how tourism in Utah has been impacted.
“Our businesses are looking well into 2020 before they start to see recovery for the first time in tourism," Varela said.
According to Varela, the pandemic and travel restrictions have been hard on businesses in Utah that thrive on tourism. About 50% of those businesses have funding for 60 days or less.
Varela said because of the decline in travel, the industry is turning to marketing in an effort to remind people about Utah’s attractions once travel bans are lifted. The industry has planned phases of market re-entry.
“We’re currently in what we call ‘inspiration,’ reminding people of everything that we have to offer and how much they love it, so when they do start to think about travel, they will think about Utah," she said.
Following the “inspiration” marketing phase, Varela said the next phase will be “renaissance,” and will be more of a call to action. This will come after it is safe to travel and welcome others into the state.