Anyone connected to the Utah tourism business has dreams of a family coming to Utah, spending all of its vacation money and then going home.
A clean and quiet way to get money and boost the Utah economy to be sure. And that scenario doesn't put any pressure on Utah facilities.But that scene is probably more than Utah tourist-oriented businesses can expect, especially when it involves tourists visiting Utah from foreign countries. Enter the catch word "regionalism."
Regional tourism efforts are apparent to Jay C. Woolley, Utah Division of Travel Development, who just returned from Belgium, West Germany, and West Berlin, extolling Utah's tourism-related virtues and trying to tempt Europeans to spend their vacations in Utah.
Woolley said most European tourists aren't interested in just one destination, so the regional concept enters. He went to those countries with travel promoters from other states who are members of Foremost West, a tourism-related organization formed by Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.
In conjunction with Trans World Airlines, the group visited the European tour operators to provide brochures or organize tours. The Americans promoted the concept of a regional visit.
For example, a West German flies into Denver from Frankfurt and then boards a bus and visits some tourist attractions in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. "If we get those people to stay three or four days in Utah we have done a good selling job," Woolley said.
Regionalism also is a good idea when it comes to spending money to attract international tourists. Because the members of the Foremost group pooled their resources and joined up with TWA, the recent trip to Europe cost Woolley a fraction of the amount if he had traveled alone.
Woolley said West Germany is Utah's greatest overseas market, although Canada is the best foreign market. He said Europeans enjoy natural resources, hiking, the wide open spaces and national parks and monuments.
"With five national parks and several national monuments and recreation areas, Utah is especially attractive to Europeans," Woolley said. Besides, food and lodging are expensive in Europe. A two-week skiing vacation in Utah or Colorado costs nearly the same as going to the Alps.
After the many years of publicizing Utah at the world trade shows, Woolley said Utah is gradually becoming better known. Because the state has a small budget for international tourism business, Woolley said the best way to spend the money is through Foremost, which arranges for the interviews and hosts the receptions for tour operators.
The attempt to attract the international tourists continues next week when Woolley and Ann King, his assistant director, go to Dallas for the International Pow Wow, which attracts tour operators and travel agencies from all over the world.
Woolley will share a booth with the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau to conduct interviews and pass out literature. He said other states, hotel chains and other tourist-related businesses will have booths at the Pow Wow.
Attracting international tourists is an up and down adventure, Woolley said, tied directly to the value of the dollar. Right now, with the value of the dollar down in Europe, tour bookings to the Intermountain Area from Belgium and West Germany are up 30 percent, Woolley said.