Podcast: Forever Mighty – Utah’s Tourism Industry

Kaitlyn ClarkeBusiness Elevated Podcast

Business Elevated Podcast (Season 5 Episode 11)

This podcast series features business and government leaders discussing what it’s like to live and work in the great state of Utah.

The Business Elevated podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify.



This episode features a conversation with Vicki Varela, the Utah Office of Tourism (UOT) managing director, and Pete Codella, managing director of business services at the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity.

Varela oversees the state’s national and international strategy to create a quality and responsible tourism economy and expand film production in Utah. Her team is responsible for leading Utah’s Red Emerald tourism strategy. She has received numerous awards, including the 2022 ATHENA Leadership Award from the Salt Lake Chamber, being named the U.S. Tourism Director of the Year in 2016, and many other honors.

She describes the career path that ultimately led her to the opportunity to tell Utah’s story as the director of the Utah office of tourism, explains what being recognized with the 2022 ATHENA Leadership Award meant to her, and outlines the office’s mission. Varela also describes the UOT’s wildly successful Mighty 5 marketing campaign responsible for making Utah a bucket list destination, what the research done by her office shows about the state’s tourism industry and how that guides marketing campaigns, the balance between bringing economic benefits of tourism to Utah and preserving the quality of life for its residents, and much more.