On the eve of the XXI Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Feb. 12-28, tourism professionals from Salt Lake, Park City, and Ogden will be off to the Games. Their mission: to continue spreading the message about the impact of the Olympics on Utah as a world-class destination for tourism, conventions and the economic impact the tourism industry can bolster.
Eight years removed from hosting one of the most successful Winter Olympics in history, it's safe to say the three Utah cities not only rocked the world for 17 magical days in 2002 but charted a course for year-round success.
Salt Lake, Park City, and Ogden have greatly benefited from hosting the Olympics, as shown in the lasting legacies: growth in Utah's tourism and convention industry; the fact that numerous world-class athletes now call Utah home due to the state's sports infrastructure, including many Utahns who were young children during the 2002 Olympics; and, perhaps most important, the economic growth and prosperity enjoyed by the three destinations.
"We have an opportunity every time the Winter Olympics comes around to be reminded of the impact on our community. There is no better stage than the games themselves to remind the world what they discovered about Salt Lake when we were the host city," said Scott Beck President and CEO of the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"The 2002 Winter Olympics helped establish Snowbasin and the Ogden area as a prominent winter destination. That recognition has lead to an influx of visitors and winter sport enthusiasts eager to experience and take advantage of our area's offerings," commented Sara Toliver, President/CEO of the Ogden/Weber Convention & Visitors Bureau. "After discovering Ogden, many outdoor recreation-based businesses have relocated to the area."
Economic development in outdoor recreation has experienced such growth that it is now one of eight economic clusters being targeted by the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development.