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Heritage Tourism

Staff Writer

Concerned business owners and interested citizens attended the Chamber of Commerce luncheon that featured the guest speaker Wilson Martin. Martin is the associate director of the Utah State Historical Society and was appointed by Gov. Michael Leavitt to be the Historic Preservation Officer for the State of Utah.

"Heritage tourism unifies all aspects of tourism, historic preservation and archeology. Those heritage tourists are all interested in historical places to stay, places to eat, souvenirs to buy and things to do and see," said Martin. "They want to experience the history of the area which they are visiting."

In the past decade, the heritage tourism industry has risen to the top of the list of reasons that people travel. It is a booming industry and many rural areas that have no industry are beginning to make themselves known for the culture and traditions of the area. These tourists tend to stay longer and spend more at a given destination than do other types of tourist.

Heritage tourism is a regional industry that caters to all those people who "long for things old fashioned." People between the ages of 34-54 make up the greatest percentage of heritage tourists. Experiencing someone else's landscape, heritage and way of life is why the majority of the traveling public is visiting the places they choose to vacation.

The Community Cultural Heritage Coordinating Council was established in 1999 to assist community-based organizations in: creating heritage areas, enhancing historic sites and districts, developing museums, revitalizing historic business districts, preserving local lifestyles, promoting healthy economic growth and fostering local art.

"We need to stop de-valuing our own history. The stories that are there to be told, and the experiences of your people should be worth something," said Wilson.

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