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Home arrowNews arrowJune 10, 2014

ACHP Joins Western States Tourism Policy Group

Below, read the various press releases and media coverage from the formal signing of the Western States Tourism Policy Council MOU June 9 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was on hand along with several western governors, and the ACHP participated. It encourages joint promotion and tourism development.

WGA Annual Meeting Day 1: President Obama, drought readiness, Secretary Jewell, MOU with NOAA
Published June 9, 2014

Governor John Hickenlooper discusses the Western Governors conversation with President Barack Obama about wildfires joined by, from left, Matt Mead, Dennis Daugaard, Steve Bullock, Butch Otter and Gary Herbert.

[...]The day began with members of the Western States Tourism Policy Council, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and other federal agency today signing a memorandum of understanding aimed at promoting federal-state dialogue and cooperation on western states tourism and public lands issues. Governor John Hickenlooper spoke and was joined at the ceremony by governors Matt Mead of Wyoming, Gary Herbert of Utah and Butch Otter of Idaho.

Source - Western Governers' Association Website

Jewell renews partnership with states to boost tourism via public lands
Scott Streater, E&E reporter
Published: Monday, June 9, 2014

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Interior Secretary Sally Jewell kicked off activities at the Western Governors' Association meeting here today by signing a formal agreement pledging to work with Western state leaders to promote tourism by drawing more visitors to national parks and other public lands.

The formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed today during a ceremony headlined by Jewell, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and Diane Shober, chairwoman of the Western States Tourism Policy Council (WSTPC), renews for five years an ongoing agreement between the states and federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service that has been in place since 1997.

President Obama recently has made drawing more international tourists to the United States a top priority, and the MOU supports the president's National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which among other things sets a goal of attracting 100 million international visitors annually by the end of 2021.

"This agreement is going to solidify the policies and programs that drive tourism in the West," said Jewell, who is scheduled to be the keynote speaker later today at the opening of the WGA annual meeting. "It says we're going to work together ... and leverage our resources."

Travelers spent $277 billion when visiting Western states alone in 2012, Jewell said. More than 83 million people visited national parks in the West last year, according to the Interior Department.

When travelers visit Western states, such as Colorado, Jewell noted, they eat at local restaurants and stay at local hotels such as the Broadmoor Hotel, where today's MOU signing ceremony took place.

Obama in 2012 issued an executive order launching new initiatives to boost tourism, in part by promoting visits to national parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands. The president's order established a task force that included former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to develop the travel and tourism strategy, which they did in May 2012.

More than 70 million travelers from around the world visited the United States last year, up from 55 million just five years ago, the White House said last month. Travel and tourism in the United States last year supported nearly 8 million jobs and generated $1.5 trillion in economic activity.

The Obama administration receives much help from the Western States Tourism Policy Council -- a partnership among 13 Western states from New Mexico up to Washington in the Pacific Northwest, as well as Alaska and Hawaii.

The WSTPC's mission is to support public policies and coordinate efforts to build on the connection between the management of public lands and tourism and the billions of dollars this pumps into state economies each year.

Among other things, WSTPC works to raise the profiles of so-called gateway communities outside national parks and monuments, and also promotes adequate federal funding for NPS and other programs that benefit tourism.

The tourism policy council was involved when the Obama administration two years ago updated its website for planning and booking trips to the nation's parks, wildlife refuges, national forests and other public lands (Greenwire, Aug. 20, 2012).

The website also serves as a one-stop shop for Americans to learn about hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities within a day's drive of their homes.

Hickenlooper, chairman of the Western Governors' Association, called the renewal of the federal-state partnership outlined in the MOU "a great, great day."

Source - Environment & Energy Publishing at, requires subscription to view.

Feds, state leaders agree on public lands tourism
David DeMille, STG
Published June 9, 2014

ST. GEORGE -- There's one aspect of public lands management that state leaders in the West and federal agency heads can agree on -- those lands are important to tourism, and tourism is important to the overall economy.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert joined U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on Monday in signing a renewed memorandum of understanding between members of the Western States Tourism Policy Council and federal agencies in recognizing the key economic role played by tourism on federal lands.

By identifying common ground on issues such as increasing travel and tourism options, the agreement was billed as a commitment to cooperation as state and federal interests intersect when it comes to promoting tourism.

"Tourism is an integral part of our state's thriving economy," Herbert said. "Today's signing underscores my commitment to continue growing Utah's tourism economy. Support and collaboration from our federal partners is essential to our success."

Herbert was one of six governors to sign, joining others from Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona and Montana. Heads of various federal agencies signed as well, including Jewell, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. The document includes a pledge to work together to promote tourism and encourage increased uses of public lands in the western United States.

Throughout the West, travel and tourism are major economic forces, with domestic and international travel and tourism in the 13 western states that make up the council, accounting for more than $120 billion per year in economic impact, according to data collected by the U.S. Travel Data Center.

Southwestern Utah's Zion National Park is the most visited of those in the state, drawing nearly 3 million visitors in each of the past two years. All of Utah's national parks, monuments, recreation areas and historic sites hosted 11.1 million visits overall per year. Experts calculated that visitors spent $7.4 billion while in Utah in 2013, generating $960 million in state and local tax revenues.

More than 15 percent of Washington County's private sector jobs are built around tourism, and in some rural counties, the Utah Department of Workforce Services links tourism to more than one-third of all jobs.
"Utah's 'Mighty 5' national parks and federally managed lands are a bucket list destination for tourists worldwide," said Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding.

The agreement outlines several key areas for cooperation, including efforts to enhance visitor access, expand small-business development opportunities, protect natural and cultural resources and promote principles of sustainable tourism.

The agreement offers a glimpse of cooperation between two sides that have been on opposite ends of various public lands issues in recent years. Utah is one of several states where legislators have passed legislation exerting claims on public lands, with Utah considering a lawsuit that would demand the federal government turn over millions of acres of public lands. Roughly two-thirds of the state's area is federally controlled.

Source - The Spectrum, St. George, UT

Utah Signs Multi-State MOU for Tourism on Federal Lands
Published June 9, 2014

Western States Tourism Policy Council

(COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) -- This morning, June 9th, Governor Gary R. Herbert joined U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell at the signing of a memorandum of understanding between members of the Western States Tourism Policy Council and U.S. Federal Agencies recognizing the economic importance of tourism on federal lands and waters.

"Tourism in Utah is an integral part of our state's thriving economy," said Gov. Herbert noting travelers spent $7.4 billion last year, generating $960 million in state and local taxes. "Today's signing underscores my commitment to continue growing Utah's tourism economy. Support and collaboration from our federal partners is essential to our success."

Today's memorandum establishes a framework of cooperation between federal agencies and the Western States Tourism Policy Council to achieve the common goal of advancing travel and tourism opportunities on federal lands to produce long-term economic, business development, educational and recreational benefits, especially in rural areas.

"Utah's Mighty 5 national parks and federally managed lands are a bucket list destination for tourists worldwide," said Vicki Varela, managing director, Utah Office of Tourism, Film and Global Branding, a signatory of today's memorandum.

In 2013, Utah's national parks, monuments, recreation areas and historic site welcomed 11,120,963 visits. The most popular of these lands is Zion National Park, which drew 2,807,387 visits last year.

The MOU outlines several key areas for cooperation:

  • Enhance visitor experience and access to federal lands, waters and shores
  • Expand small business development opportunities in tourism
  • Support the long-term viability of western tourism communities
  • Protect and interpret the natural, environmental, cultural and historical resources foundational to tourism
  • Promote principles of sustainable tourism
  • Advance public/private marketing partnerships

Signatories of today's memorandum include Tom Vilsack, U.S. secretary of agriculture; Penny Pritzker, U.S. secretary of commerce; Anthony Foxx, U.S. secretary of transportation; Jo-Ellen Darcy, U.S. assistant secretary of Army (Civil Works); Milford Wayne Donaldson, chairman, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and tourism directors from twelve western states.

Attending the event were Gov. Herbert, Gov. John Hickenlooper (CO); Gov. Brian Sandoval (NV); Gov. Matt Mead (WY); Gov. Jan Brewer (AZ); Gov. Steve Bullock (MT); Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, U.S. under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator; Robert Bonnie, U.S. under secretary for natural resources and environment; Jim Hubbard, deputy chief, Forest Service; Ed Hall, Bureau of Indian Affairs. 

Source - KSCG News, St. George, UT

Travel Oregon CEO Joins Interior Secretary Jewell, Key Federal Agencies and Western Tourism Policy Council to Sign Agreement Strengthening Tourism in the West
Published June 10, 2014

Travel Oregon's CEO Todd Davidson joined the Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, along with other key state and federal officials yesterday to formalize an agreement intended to boost local and state tourism economies throughout the West.

"Oregon is blessed with stunning, iconic natural settings," said Davidson. "We believe the best way to explore Oregon is through outdoor recreation, be it biking around Crater Lake, wildflower hiking in the Columbia River Gorge or walking one of the 363 miles of our coast. This agreement highlights the West's outdoor recreation advantages, and will lead to increased economic impact and more meaningful jobs for Oregonians. Last year, tourism generated $9.6 billion in the state's economy and directly supported nearly 94,000 jobs."

Yesterday's signing of the Memorandum of Understanding solidified an existing framework through which the consortium of 13 western states tourism offices, collectively known as the Western States Tourism Policy Council (WSTPC), and six federal agencies will continue to work together to advance domestic and international tourism on our nation's public lands and to spur economic growth.

Travelers to western states spent $276.5 billion in 2012, generating 2.4 million jobs, $68.7 billion in payroll and $41.3 billion in tax revenues.

Nationally, travel and tourism is a major economic engine, supporting nearly 8 million American jobs -- jobs that can't be outsourced at thousands of local and small businesses. The agreement supports President Obama's National Travel and Tourism Strategy, which set an ambitious goal of attracting and welcoming 100 million international visitors annually by the end of year 2021.

Federal signatories of yesterday's agreement included the Dept. of Agriculture (Forest Service), Dept. of Commerce (International Trade Administration, NOAA), Dept. of the Interior (BIA, BLM, Reclamation, Fish & wildlife, National park Service), Dept. of Transportation (Federal Highway Administration), the US Army Corps of Engineers and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

State signatories were Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Source - Travel Oregon Newsletter


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