But does the heritage obscure the modern reality? Natalie Gochnour, associate dean at the University of Utah’s business school (and fellow columnist at the Deseret News), said that Utahns need to understand that “we are an urban state and we have urban problems.” These include air quality, congestion and inner city strife. Yet it’s also important to leverage the state’s non-urban tourist assets — its mountains, national parks and ski resorts – as part of an overall economic development package. She wants the Legislature to put on its marketing hat and think about how its decision will better “sell” Utah nation-wide.
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development is certainly doing that. It has a whole section on its web site devoted to “accolades” for the state. There are so many, says a GOED spokesman, that the agency has broken them down into national business rankings, top city rankings, and quality of life rankings – things that measure the value of tourism or voluntarism in making Utah a better place.