Gary Herbert was among several western governors and U-S Interior Secretary Sally Jewell who signed an agreement to recognize the importance of tourism on federal lands and waters. The memorandum of understanding, or MOU, is between members of the Western States Tourism Policy Council and a variety of Federal Agencies. Vickie Varela is the managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism. She says fostering public/ private partnerships is one of the key areas of cooperation.
“You think about our national parks and the gateway communities that surround those national parks and all of the homegrown Utah businesses that are having great success there,” says Varela. “That’s the sort of thing that Governor Herbert and Secretary Jewell want to work together to accomplish more of.”
Varela says while the current effort to take back control of federal land in Utah are a signs of what is not working, the MOU focuses on what is working between Utah and the U-S Government. She pointed to the nearly 1 billion dollars in state and local taxes generated last year through tourism spending.
Gov. Herbert is in Colorado Springs attending the annual meeting of the Western Governor’s Association. In a statement he said the agreement underscores his commitment to the continued growth of Utah’s tourism economy. He said support and collaboration from federal partners is essential to Utah’s success.