Word by LATTE correspondent, Barry Matheson
A delegation of eight tourism officials from the U.S. state of Utah are visiting Australia to report that significant tourist product development has occurred in their regions since the outbreak of COVID.
In Sydney, they staged a mini marketplace that consisted of 8-minute-long, rapid-fire appointments with Australian travel industry partners before hosting a special lunch.
The event coincided with the prestigious National Geographic magazine last week naming Utah as one of the five best destinations to visit in the USA.
“One thing you cannot do in Utah is escape the view,” said Zach Fyne from the Utah Office of Tourism.
Fyne said Utah is home to the Mighty 5 National Parks – Bryce and Zion Canyons, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef – not to mention Park City Mountain Resort, the largest ski resort in America that boasts “the greatest snow on earth”.
“Australia is one of our biggest ski markets because your summer aligns with our winter season, and we’re seeing many Aussies visiting Park City for a White Christmas”.
“There are fifteen world class ski resorts, so you can combine that ski holiday with an epic American road trip through our red rock canyons and national parks”.
To get the best out of a trip to Utah, Fyne suggests spending 2 days in Salt Lake City in northern Utah, then 3 days to fully experience two National Parks in south eastern Utah and 6 days for the three remaining parks, across the south west of the state.
With 28 scenic byways and endless beauty, it takes time to travel between major locations and Fyne recommends leaving the interstate highways to slow down and explore these roads and little towns settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1840’s.
The Utah delegates told LATTE that visitors shouldn’t miss seeing Bryce Canyon, it’s one of the best spots to take in the night skies, a stargazers eye-popper.
They said the town of Moab which is surrounded by some of the most stunning red rock formations on earth is a must-see, and don’t miss Kanab, known as “Little Hollywood” because back in the 1940’s, over 250 western movies were filmed there, such as Gunsmoke and The Lone Ranger.
“We are small town America. The population is only 5,000 and you can walk down the main street and see plaques with the names of the famous movie stars who made movies here,” said Janette Peatross from Kanab’s Kane County tourism office.
“Frank Sinatra stayed at the Parry Lodge in town and ended up buying the lodge’s swimming pool because he didn’t have one while he was filming,” she said.
One of the newer attractions is the Rocky Mountaineer ‘Rockies to Red Rocks’, or reverse, train trip from Moab, Utah to Denver, Colorado – a 2 day rail journey priced from AU$2,400 per person.
From incredible red rock landscapes, towering mountains, unique out-of-this-world scenery and fabulous skiing, there’s no better place to road trip in the U.S. than in Utah, Fyne added.
But the Mormon past lingers. Liquor sales are strictly controlled by the state, and drinking is still frowned upon in some parts of Utah. Don’t expect to buy a drink on Sunday’s. All liquor stores are closed throughout the state.
Lead image: Delegates at the event in Sydney on Wednesday – from left: Corey Marshall, Utah; Janette Peatross, Kanab; Melissa Stocks, Moab; Bill Scoffield, Bryce; Joyce Kelly, Zion; Michael Mack, Salt Lake City; Kate Cuthbertson, Park City; Zach Fyne, Utah and Joanne Motta, Cedar City.