DENVER — The Western Governors’ Association announced today the formation of a diverse group of experts to develop recommendations for strengthening the Western economy by growing the outdoor recreation and tourism sectors, and for connecting today’s youth to the many outdoor recreation opportunities the West has to offer.

Gov. Chris Gregoire (Wash.), Chair of the Western Governors’ Association, launched her Get Out West! initiative earlier this year with those goals in mind. The advisory group met today in Seattle.

“We have pulled together an impressive group to advise the governors on state strategies and model programs to connect kids and their families to the West’s great outdoor recreation opportunities,” Gregoire said. “The advisory group will also make recommendations on policies to increase tourism and recreation and will identify best practices for encouraging volunteerism and conservation to improve the West’s recreation assets.”

Gov. Gary Herbert (Utah), WGA’s Vice Chairman said: “The leisure and hospitality industry added 3,500 new jobs to Utah’s economy in 2010, accounting for 20 percent of all new jobs created. This advisory group will help us identify ways to increase those numbers by working together regionally to market the entire West to domestic and international visitors.”

The advisory group will deliver preliminary recommendations to the Governors at WGA’s Winter Meeting in December and final recommendations and strategies in June at WGA’s Annual Meeting in Cle Elum, Washington.

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