Travel Council’s new ‘movement’: Do it like a Local

Moab Area Travel Council Executive Director Elaine Gizler holds a mug emblazoned with “Do it like a Local.” The council launches the campaign July 1. Photo by Doug McMurdo

The next Moab Area Travel Council campaign set to launch July 1 isn’t focused on drawing tourists to southeastern Utah – the goal this time around is to “Do it like a Local,” and as the name suggests – locals will be asked to play the leading role.

“This isn’t an ad campaign,” said Elaine Gizler, the travel council’s executive director. “This is a movement. This is a movement to educate tourists on how to respect the land, and our locals know how better than anyone.”

Gizler said between $200,000 and $250,000 will be spent on the movement this year and another $300,000 is earmarked for 2020. Gizler said there will be a digital campaign – DoItLikeAMoabLocal.com – as well as a physical campaign with street banners and “lots of swag” that will be available at Swanny Park on Independence Day, where the council will have a booth to promote the effort.

Residents will be interviewed for input.

Moab, she said, is one of the first cities in the country to mount the movement. “We want people to understand this isn’t just a tagline,” she said. “We’re serious about how we would like them to treat our public lands. To do that we need to reach out to locals, land agencies and key community members about what they would like to see.”

Marketing materials, including a trail guide with educational material, presented by Gizler at a recent Moab Chamber of Commerce luncheon. Photo by Carter Pape

While the travel council has made significant inroads in its efforts to educate tourists on Leave no Trace minimum impact principles, such as packing out what is packed in, carrying portable toilets, and staying on the trail and off the vegetation, the agency hopes to ratchet it up with Do it like a Local.

“If this takes off and you can get the county to rally around the movement, it would really show that we’re doing this to benefit public lands and the county,” said Gizler, adding it would eventually enhance the visitor experience.

But first, locals have to weigh in with “what they would like to tell a visitor,” said Gizler before adding with a slight smile, “Hopefully, we’ll get an answer about caring for public lands.”

Acutely aware of the negative viewpoint many residents have regarding Moab’s booming tourism economy, Gizler thinks Do it like a Local could help locals take a more involved, proactive approach that could lead to a positive outcome for both visitors and residents.

Here’s how Love Communications, the travel council’s media firm of record, explains Do it like a Local: “The core idea is that Moab locals know what’s best: They know the best hiking trails. They know the best biking trails. They know the best stretches of the river. They know the best places to eat. They know everything about Moab – which means they also know what’s best in regard to the proper care for Moab and the natural environment that surrounds it.

So be smart. Be informed. Be courteous. Be a good steward.”

“I hope the movement really becomes meaningful,” Gizler said. “We should remind people to stay on the trail. Peer pressure works. Tell them, ‘You’re not really protecting what’s here.’ Put the people in charge. But those same people have to support the movement.”

Gizler said traveling websites Trip Advisor and Adara have agreed to support the effort both online and financially. “It’s that important,” she said.