By Brice Wallace

With Utah’s national parks bulging with visitors — to the point that reservations are being considered — the Utah Office of Tourism has undertaken a strategy to boost the quality of visits rather than the quantity.

Called “Red Emerald,” the strategy looks to create Utah travel experiences that are special. The name comes from the red emerald, also known as red beryl, a prized gemstone found in any substantial size only in Utah.

“We named this new initiative ‘Red Emerald’ because that’s what we want the Utah tourism experience to be: a rare, refined, high-quality experience,” Vicki Varela, managing director of tourism, film and global branding, told the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) board at a recent meeting.

The initiative was introduced at a Utah tourism conference this fall. Details are now posted at the office’s website, https://travel.utah.gov/. The principles listed there are designed to be a guiding document for the tourism office in prioritizing its promotional and product development efforts.

Varela noted that Utah has had “wild success” in increasing overall visitation to its five national parks, bolstered by the “Mighty 5” campaign, and that Red Emerald is a way to build upon that success.

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