"Howdy!" "Welcome to Utah." "Glad you could come."

No matter how you say it, tourism is big business in Utah, and several of Utah's elected politicians were on hand at the Salt Lake International Airport Monday to hand out "Utah, A Pretty, Great State" buttons, stuff a Utah travel brochure in a passing shirt pocket, and otherwise welcome travelers passing through the state."Tourism is our only non-diminishing resource," said Salt Lake County Commissioner Mike Stewart. "In this way, we acknowledge the role tourism plays in our Utah economy."

Stewart, along with Rep. Howard Nielson, R-Utah, Lt. Gov. Val Oveson and several members of the Legislature participated in the event, sponsored by the Utah Tourism Industry Coalition.

The welcoming committee, which also featured about a dozen Utah ambassadors in black tuxedos and red ties, was the first in a series of events scheduled to recognize Utah tourism and National Tourism Week.

"The goal of Tourism Week is to increase awareness of the importance of the tourism industry and to remind Utah's citizens that the many elements that attract visitors to our area are things of which we should all be aware and proud," said Wendell Wild, tourism week chairman.

Politicians on hand Monday acknowledged that tourism earns an estimated $2 billion a year for the state through skiing, summer activities, hotels, national parks and other activities.

"No state has more national parks and monuments," gushed Stewart. "No state has every kind of scenery, as Utah does. We have more shoreline than other states. Mother Nature hasn't done it any better than she's done it right here in Utah."