by Jared Preusz, Utah Business

Salt Lake for many years has been a hot attraction for skiing, vacations and even business conventions. In recent years, the Salt Lake area has seen a rise in tourism from people all over the world, a result of the 2002 Winter Olympics. The Salt Lake Convention and Visitor's Bureau (SLCVB) is one the key organizations involved in bringing people from countries all over the globe to Salt Lake. The organization, which is the most senior convention bureau in Utah, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

The organization has accomplished a lot in Salt Lake County, especially in the realm of business.

"Our emphasis in Salt Lake is on large scale, convention type of business," said Scott Beck, president and CEO of SLCVB. "The bulk of our time and efforts are out there recruiting convention and trade shows to come to Salt Lake and Utah to use our facility, the Salt Palace Convention Center."

Beck said his organization over the last 25 years has made a significant impact on commerce in the Salt Lake area. Since its inception in 1984 (for two years prior it was known as the Salt Lake County Development and Promotion Board), the organization has catapulted Salt Lake County's economy to new historic heights. For instance, in 1984 the organization booked about 38,000 room nights annually, contributing $11 million to the economy through visitor spending. The SLCVB in 2007 booked a total of 574,661 room nights. In the future, the organization will help the Salt Lake area to generate over $283 million in direct visitor spending from conventions and tradeshows, ski groups, motor coach tours, genealogy tours and leisure travelers.

The SLCVB has also partnered with the Utah Office of Tourism and Ski Utah to attract visitors to the Beehive State. In addition, the organization's partnerships with several travel companies have helped establish Salt Lake as a well known ski destination. Last year, Salt Lake was the number one selling ski destination on Travelocity. The organization also promotes Salt Lake as the genealogical capital of the world and as a place with a unique geographical location.

"We are really trying to now present Salt Lake as a true urban city but with a unique natural setting," Beck said. "The other really big change we have made is to move to the forefront the accessibility of Salt Lake."

The SLCVB has now implemented this message by shifting its focus to a more online approach with three blogs and a Website, complete with interactive media.

"We are really decreasing the amount of materials we are printing and moving things to an online format," Beck said. "Our ability now to pull different pieces of our Website, pull some video, pull powerpoints, and to pull information together and to create a unique and customized presentation is an instrumental focus of our efforts."