This is Derek Miller Speaking on Business. There is no question that the pandemic has affected the travel and tourism economy. Vicki Varela, Managing Director of the Utah Office of Tourism, shares how her office has responded to the new challenges.


COVID completely reset the world of travel. It has challenged Utah’s small businesses — guides and outfitters, hoteliers, restaurants, retailers — to innovate safe customer service to survive. Our goal is to support these great small businesses that make up the Utah tourism economy.

Since the onset of COVID, there has been increased interest among travelers to support communities and show good stewardship. In response, the Utah Office of Tourism has shaped a stronger narrative to encourage travelers in Utah to support local businesses.

We want our visitors to thoughtfully engage in Utah’s natural environment, discover our culture, shop and dine in our local communities, hire guides and outfitters — to take the time to fully immerse themselves.

Through our Red Emerald Strategic Plan, the UOT aims to promote safe and well-prepared year-round visitation by focusing on the quality of visits rather than the quantity of visitors, getting customers responsibly off the beaten path, and helping communities manage their tourism economies.


We appreciate the extraordinary work being done to encourage travel to our beautiful state. You can learn more about the Utah Office of Tourism at I’m Derek Miller with the Salt Lake Chamber, and this is Speaking on Business.