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Tourism director details core principles, criteria for tax funding

Carbon County Office of Tourism Director Shalee Johansen.

By C.J. McMANUS
Sun Advocate reporter

After doling out nearly $150,000 in funding last year, the Carbon County Office of Tourism is once again taking applications to foster the creation of tourism in Utah's Castle Country.

This November, the Carbon County Tax Advisory Board will meet to review potential events and promotions before making recommendations to the county commission for funding.

"Typically, there had been a handful of projects seeking assistance but last year we funded between 25 and 30," said Office of Tourism Director Shalee Johansen. "The same number were helped with "swag bags" or giveaway promotions."

Applications for funding can be found online at www.castlecountry.com.

While the board has broad discretion to decide which projects to recommend, they are bound by state law concerning the type of promotions which can be considered.

"Promotions to be considered should promote Carbon County to increase awareness and create urgency to visit Utah's Castle Country," said materials provided by Johansen."This should be done with target and mass marketing through strategic, multimedia and networking channels."

Secondly, those seeking funding should encourage tourists to eat at local restaurants, stay in local hotels and patronize local events, businesses and venues.

Most importantly to Johansen, applicants should look to create a "Wow" experience that exceeds the visitor's expectations by working with, supporting and training tourism partners.

"This is vital because of the reach that is capable in today's social media atmosphere," she explained.

According to Johansen, the typical tourist has the ability to share their experience, good or bad, with 300 people. The tourism director has worked diligently over the past couple of years to create programs which can be effectively tracked, allowing the commissioners and tourism office to pinpoint the effectiveness of their spending.

One such tracking system was used during the mud drag event put on last year. Because each driver was required to register and provide a significant amount of information, the tourism board was able to discern that only five of the 168 participants came from this area.

Applications must be submitted to the board by Oct. 30 to be considered for funding.




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