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As great as Utah's five national parks are, the state has far more scenic sites and adventurous activities for tourists to explore.
That's the idea behind the Utah Office of Tourism's new promotional campaign, "Road to Mighty," unveiled Thursday at the Capitol.
The theme of the $4.6 million campaign picks up on the 3-year-old "Mighty Five" promotion highlighting Utah's five national parks Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands and Arches by emphasizing the beautiful terrain visitors encounter in other parts of the state while heading to or from those parks.
"This campaign will position Utah as the home of the great American road trip," said Office of Tourism managing director Vicki Varela, noting her agency has identified more than two dozen routes people could take to observe Utah's many scenic wonders.
Several are squeezed into a 30-second "Road to Mighty" television commercial that has been running for 10 days in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas markets and started Monday in Denver.
There are shots of Monument Valley, Boulder Mountain and the Hogback near Escalante, of people frolicking in Lower Calf Creek Falls, and Goblin Valley State Park and Little Wildhorse Canyon in the San Rafael Swell.
"Maybe it's because I live here and know a lot of these places, but I still get goosebumps every time I see this [ad]," said Nathan Rafferty, a member of the Office of Tourism board as president/CEO of Ski Utah, marketing arm of the state's 14 resorts.
The "Road to Mighty" TV commercials will air through mid-April in the targeted markets, running concurrently with digital ads that will continue through the end of that month. A social media advertising campaign is running through June 30.
In the meantime, "Mighty Five" ads are being shown nationwide until April 3.
"We have something special here," Gov. Gary Herbert said, calling the campaign a "great way to showcase the state" with its 43 "just gorgeous" state parks. He applauded the results of the "Mighty Five" campaign, which has helped significantly to elevate tourism's contribution to Utah's economy.
Since 2005, he said, tourism's economic impact has grown 53 percent from $5.2 billion to just under $8 billion. State and local governments have collected almost $1 billion in tourism-generated taxes during that span, providing tax relief to Utahns.
Fred Hayes, director of the state parks and recreation department, welcomed the additional visitors who will be attracted by this new campaign. He contended the "Mighty Five" ads already have produced double-digit visitation increases at state parks since they first appeared.
Last year alone, he added, state parks experienced a 20 percent jump in visits.
Communities along the routes of itineraries laid out on the Tourism Office website http://www.visitutah.com/road-to-mighty also will see benefits, said Joel Racker, president/CEO of the Utah Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau.