Published on : Thursday, December 24, 2020
Global Travel Trade & Destination Development Manager, Utah Office of Tourism and Film talks about the effect of the pandemic, changing strategies and opportunities related to film tourism.
One of the novel entrants, Utah, a state in the western USA is insistently keen on making the most of the potential of Indian outbound. Earlier this year, Utah appointed IndiJo as its representative in India market and has been growing its brand awareness next to creating partnership with the travel trade.
What is the extent of the effect that you are seeing worldwide and from India market during this pandemic?
The global effect of the pandemic has negatively impacted the visitor economy of Utah with other destinations. Restrictions related to global flight and border closures led to a sudden stop of the visitor economy of Utah in spring, even though, in some areas like the National Park gateway, we have successfully rehabilitated the local economies on a partial basis due to lost International visitation with domestic/regional visitors. Aiming on this domestic visitation has helped us in reconstructing and gaining market share. Our visitor volume over the prior year is down 32 per cent as the Western US is down 52 per cent and the US is down 44 per cent.
And even though we are not allowing foreign visitors as of now, we have maintained our brand presence, and remained engaged as well as helpful to the industry. We are aware that what we do now will effect travel from a year now, and beyond. Rehabilitating the industry will not only help our travel trade partners in markets such as India but also gain market share.
How prepared is your destination in resuming tourism post coronavirus? Do you have new SOP of guidelines for the industry?
Our Utah Office of Tourism team has organized stakeholder webinars in regard to industry best practices/visitor readiness, with tools, resources, and guidelines for the industry. The Utah Office of Tourism is a department together with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development introduced a ‘Safe IN Utah’ grant, extended to local businesses. This would help and respond to the new standards of the industry. This grant provides businesses with the PPE, implementation of workplace redesigns, new technologies, and other public health guidelines for the industry.
How are you reshaping your strategies related to marketing in attracting visitors post pandemic? Also, how is the destination working to inspire confidence in travelers?
We have amended our strategy related to messaging to support inspirational messaging, also helping responsible tourism stewardship, and responsible recovery of Utah. We hear visitors sharing experiences of Utah’s healing power and it’s that quiet power that we hope will attract people more in the future, and that lends itself perfectly to long-awaited travel experiences rooted in wellness.
The pandemic will make many people looking for a destination that offers a relief from hectic life, along with scenic beauty, which is what they will find in Utah.
Long-haul markets will be the last ones to get back to normal business, your take on this? Also, will India be one of the top priority markets for you post the pandemic?
Long-haul markets will certainly have a recovery rate much slower for Utah, even though, despite this, it is important we continue to put in money in our long-haul markets. We see a higher spend per visitor and a longer length of stay from our long-haul markets and remain vital to Utah’s recovery.
India will remain a market of focus alongside our other top inbound source markets including Canada, China, UK, France, Germany, and Australia.