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The managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism, an agency of the Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED), has stepped down after more than 28 years of public service. Under the leadership of Leigh von der Esch, annual visitation has increased from 19 million to more than 22 million national and international visitors and tourism-related jobs have grown to more than 124,000 positions.
"Leigh has done much to increase Utah's recognition as a global business destination by launching and promoting the Utah Life Elevated brand and increasing the economic contribution of Utah's $6.8 billion tourism industry," said Governor Gary R. Herbert. "During her many years of service she has led both the Utah Film Commission and the Office of Tourism and has been instrumental in making Utah a first choice destination."
Spencer Eccles, executive director of the GOED, has asked deputy director, David Williams, to serve as the acting director of the Office of Tourism and Film during the transition. Tracie Cayford, also one of the deputy directors, will work closely with Williams to ensure the continuity of operations. Marshall Moore will continue in his current role as the Utah Film Commissioner, reporting to David Williams.
"Leigh's efforts and those of her team have created a lasting legacy and have had a definitive impact in growing tourism throughout the State. Her commitment over the past 28 years to the people of Utah was rivaled only by her passion for promoting the State's grandeur and incredibly diverse culture and landscape," said Spencer Eccles. "I am personally grateful for the opportunity that I had to work with her; she was an integral member of our team and will be missed."