The 2017 Utah Tourism Conference sponsored by the Utah Office of Tourism kicked off in Vernal on Tuesday. The event runs through Thursday and while it’s primarily being held at the Uintah Conference Center, there will be no shortage of sightseeing and recreating by the conference attendees. Having the opportunity to host the state conference is considered a great opportunity. “Having the tourism conference here is a very good thing for us,” shares Uintah County Commissioner Bill Stringer. “It brings visibility to this part of the state and provides a clearer picture for those whose idea of our area is a little out of date. We can show that there are multiple sides to us and we are not just oil and gas.” Exposure and word of mouth are considered powerful benefits of having state wide tourism leaders in the area this week. Commissioner Stringer emphasized that Uintah County will continue to diversify the economy utilizing tourism opportunities regardless of outside support but they also welcome the support and encouragement from throughout the state.