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Wasatch Front boosters hope Connect Pass will be 2010 hit

Published: 05/22/2010
By Mike Gorrell, The Salt Lake Tribune - Coming off a banner year, the Visit Salt Lake Connect Pass is being promoted to draw even more recession-weary people to Wasatch Front tourism destinations.

The pass, which provides discount-price access to 13 attractions from downtown Salt Lake City to Thanksgiving Point to Utah Olympic Park, will be sold on a three-days-for-the-price-of-two basis starting Monday and running through July 19. The Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau also is offering a 365-day pass to increase its appeal to Utahns who have multiple opportunities in a year to visit participating attractions.

"You don't have to leave the Wasatch Front to have a truly amazing vacation -- one that offers a great deal of value," said CVB President Scott Beck, who noted in his annual report that 13,385 passes were sold last year, almost twice what they projected.

The rise was consistent with tourism industry observations that people were still vacationing, but doing so closer to home and in perpetual search for deals because of the tenuous economic conditions that have prevailed since the financial collapse in the fall of 2008.

"The CVB is targeting drive markets and Salt Lake-based audiences for summer adventure travel," Beck said.

Now participating in the Connect Pass program for a fifth time, Clark Planetarium officials have been pleased with its results, said spokeswoman Dani Weigand. "Not only does Connect Pass provide revenue to Clark Planetarium, but we also

benefit from added exposure on tourism websites that are working to promote Salt Lake City as a destination."

Connect Passes provide access to as many of the facilities as the purchaser desires in a one, two or three-day period, although pass holders are limited to one visit at each participating attraction. They become active on first use. The 365-day pass remains active for the entire year, although Beck noted that passes expire if they are not used or activated in the calendar year they were bought.

To emphasize how much money can be saved with a Connect Pass, the CVB website said individual admission prices to the 13 attractions cumulatively would add up to $125 for an adult, $101 for seniors and $97 for children.

But if planned out, Beck said, an energetic pass holder could spend a day seeing a show at Clark Planetarium and doing hands-on crafts at Discovery Gateway before eating lunch at the Lion House Pantry. The afternoon itinerary could include stops at Hogle Zoo and Snowbird, capping the excursion with a late afternoon ride on the Tram.

"With 13 attractions in all, options are endless," he said.

Participating attractions:

Clark Planetarium

Discovery Gateway

The Lion House Pantry Restaurant

The Living Planet Aquarium

Red Butte Garden

Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort

Thanksgiving Point

This Is the Place Heritage Park

Tracy Aviary

Utah's Hogle Zoo

Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Utah Museum of Natural History

Utah Olympic Park

A Visit Salt Lake Connect Pass may be bought online at VisitSaltLake.com, in the Salt Palace Convention Center visitor's center and at numerous Salt Lake Valley hotels.

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