Since it launched in June, the Moab Area Travel Council’s “Do It Like a Local” campaign has had some local residents wondering what the marketing slogan means.
There have been editorials and newspaper articles about the subject, discussions on social media, at work and at home, and it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say, “Doing It Like a Local” can mean different things to different local residents.
The opinions vary on the campaign, and not everyone is clear about what the campaign means.
Some longtime local residents agree with TeriAnn Tibbetts, a fifth-generation Moab resident who feels the slogan is just another gimmick to bring more people in.
“We’re simple people,” Tibbets said. “I love Moab; I love my life; I love living here; I love my friends, but most of my friends are gone — they’ve moved away because we’re sick of it.”
Moab Area Travel Council Executive Director Elaine Gizler said the travel council realized that it could not make everyone happy with its campaign.
“But what they must realize is that we are trying very hard to help educate visitors to understand that we care,” Gizler said. “Yes, we will have naysayers. However, we are moving forward. ”
“Do It Like a Local” has its own web page (DoItLikeAMoabLocal.com) that states the “obvious purpose (of the campaign) is to help visitors get the most out of their trip, but its deeper purpose is to gently educate Moab visitors on proper behavior, etiquette and stewardship of the environment while they’re here.”
It goes on to state, “Moab locals 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.”
The page offers a handful of “Local Tips” on subjects such as taking care not to harm the area’s microbiotic soil, making sure to bring plenty of water on hikes and where it is appropriate to camp. Page visitors can click on links to learn more about hiking, camping, mountain biking, OHV recreation, river activities and where to see dinosaur tracks and rock art — along with information on how to stay safe and respect the area while enjoying it.
Gizler said visitors to the area will come into contact with “targeted messaging” from the “Do It Like a Local” website before they’ve even arrived.
“If they make a reservation for anything — a hotel, a car, whatever — then they will see our targeted messaging that’s going out to them,” she said.
Gizler said that after visitors arrive, if they do an internet search on any device, “the same messaging is going to occur.”
Gizler said Moab residents are invited to share positive suggestions and tips with visitors in a 30-seconds-or-less video by joining the travel council at the Moab City building courtyard on Wednesday, Aug. 7, from noon to 2 p.m. The videos will be filmed at that time and may be included on the “Do It Like a Local” website.
The progression of the “Do It Like a Local” campaign seems to be going well outside of Moab, Gizler said.
“We … got support from our representatives in Germany who are getting behind the program,” Gizler said. “I presented this Moab movement to the Utah Office of Tourism and the Utah tourism board, and it was very well accepted.”
When asked about local businesses getting on board, she said City Market managers have had three pieces of training handing out the T-shirts.
“I have congratulated employees at City Market who are wearing the shirts in support of our efforts,” she said.
Local resident Margo Leech, who has lived in southeastern Utah for the majority of her life, expressed what the campaign means to her.
“I like to think of myself as an owner of this land,” she said. “Many of our visitors think the same, but few can spoil the experience for many. As you are hiking, biking or four-wheeling, make it a habit to pick up the beer can that someone left, use a wag bag or ‘other facility.’ You wouldn’t want to step in it, so why would anyone else? And leave your campsite cleaner than it was when you arrived. Let’s make this place we will all continue to enjoy and be good stewards of God’s creation.”
Multigenerational Moab resident Indi Martineau pointed out, “I feel like a local is, people who have actually been through the growth and the changes. My mom is part of the family of the original settlers.”
Martineau explained what she thinks the “Doing It Like a Moab Local” campaign means, by returning from where you visit back to its original state or better.
“You think about the Golden Rule and things like that, that you’re taught as a kid, and I think that’s how everyone should live. Anywhere you go your life should be lived that way,” Martineau said.
She expressed feeling bad because some Moab residents treat tourists unkindly, and she would not want to be treated that way if she were traveling to other parts of the world. She said being respectful to visitors should also be a part of “Doing It Like a Moab Local.”
Seven years ago, Kris Westrum came to Arches National Park to volunteer and fell in love with Moab, so she moved here.
Westrum said she is not sure what the marketing slogan means.
“I would have preferred something like, 'Be Kind to Moab,' encouraging people to have a gentle impact on this beautiful little desert town, pick up their trash, and remember this is home to a lot of nice people," she said.
Westrum spoke of her own efforts to care for her adopted home of Moab.
“There was half of a big box of donuts along Mill Creek a few days ago,” she said. “(It was) covered with ants. Not what I wanted to carry under my arm, along with a big Budweiser carton. But I did it anyway.”
For more information, go to: DoItLikeAMoabLocal.com.