"Our 25th anniversary is significant in many ways," said Scott Beck, President and CEO of the SLCVB. "We're here today because of the strong commitment, vision and leadership on the part of our county and state governmental leaders, and the strong support and involvement provided by our volunteer Board of Trustees and the 850 members of our organization. We've been fortunate to have a real ‘who's who' of Utah guiding us over the past 25 years, and our membership has remained extremely supportive and engaged. All of this support has been the foundation for our ongoing success."
In 1984, (25 years ago), the services now provided by contract with the SLCVB were a department of Salt Lake County government. It was originally known as the Salt Lake County Development and Promotion Board, a department of Salt Lake County government funded only by hotel room taxes. Responding to the needs of the hotel community, County Commissioners, determined to improve marketing efforts that attract conventions and tour groups, turned to the private sector for help in administering their promotional program. A management contract was awarded and, since that time, the resulting non-profit corporation, the SLCVB, has generated a substantial economic impact on the County, the State and its residents.
THEN AND NOW
In 1984 the Bureau booked about 38,000 room nights annually, contributing $11 million to the economy through visitor spending. Flash forward to 2008, when the Bureau booked 460,830 convention room nights, representing $326 million in direct convention delegate spending. The Bureau‘s 2008 bookings consisted of 296 groups, 32 of which are citywide conventions-groups that utilize the Salt Palace Convention Center and 750 or more hotel rooms on peak night. In 2008 the sales team met or surpassed most 2008 Performance Measures including: contact with 1,390 new clients, 45 sales trips, 17 national trade shows and 125 site inspections and group buyer education trips. These programs and efforts ensure strong bookings continue through 2009 and beyond.
"2008 was a banner year," said Steve Lundgren Chairman of the Board and Regional General Manager for Marriott Hotels and Resorts. "In fact it was the Bureau's second largest in terms of convention bookings, second only to the year where we booked groups due to the impact of hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics."
In addition to the focus on "citywide" convention business, the Bureau remains committed to the success of its tourism programs. Based on the industry-leading success of the Ski Salt Lake Super Pass, the Visit Salt Lake message is alive and well. A major economic driver in the state, the tourism industry represents over 113,000 jobs in Utah, almost nine percent of the total workforce. Traveler spending has increased more than 27 percent statewide since 2004 to $7.19 billion, up from $5.65 billion, representing over $631 million in state and local taxes generated. A recent Ski Utah survey showed that 50% of out-of-state visitors that ski in Utah stay in Salt Lake County, adding dramatic economic impact to the Salt Lake Valley.
The Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau is actively planning for the future to ensure a strong convention and tourism industry in Salt Lake. "From cooperative marketing programs with other destination marketing partners to the most current and state-of-the-art web-based programs, we are planning for the future by building on the successful programs we've implemented over the past few years to ensure the longevity of the SLCVB and Salt Lake as the world-class meeting, convention and tourism destination it has become," concluded Beck.
The Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. Over its 25 years, the SLCVB has increased convention revenue from $11 million to $326 million, fulfilling its mission of improving the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers and visitors. Salt Lake is a unique fusion of metropolitan city and quaint mountain town; the towering Wasatch Mountains that embrace Salt Lake offer a dramatic backdrop to the vibrancy and activities of downtown. Having completed a $58 million expansion in 2006, the Salt Palace Convention Center now boasts 675,000 square feet of exhibit and meeting space, ideal for groups of all sizes and needs. For more information on all that Salt Lake has to offer, go to www.VisitSaltLake.com.
* All SLCVB economic impact figures are based on research from the University of Utah's Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR). According to BEBR, a Salt Lake convention delegate in 2007 spent $889 during an average three-day stay.