SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah is hoping to win the gold long after the
2002 Olympic Winter Games are over.
The Olympics, which will begin Feb. 8 and run through Feb. 24,
will expose the destination to an estimated 3.2 billion TV viewers
worldwide, according to Carl Little, vice president for tourism for
the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau.
And although winter sports continue in the Salt Lake City/Park
City region well into April, tourism officials are planning an
advertising campaign to lure vacationers here through autumn.
Tentatively dubbed "Continuing the Celebration," the campaign is
envisioned as a national promotion that could launch as early as
April. Funding is still in the works, organizers said.
The campaign is likely to feature a statewide discount on
visitor services, according to Ann Gambrino, executive director of
the 500-member Utah Hotel & Lodging Association, which will
coordinate the effort with the Utah Travel Council -- the state
Yas Tokita, president of Mountain West Travel, a Salt Lake
City-based tour operator specializing in handling Japanese groups
and others visiting the western U.S., said publicity surrounding
the games will depict the host communities as "very clean,
crime-free and tourist-friendly," with new amenities.
Some of those amenities are sports facilities that were upgraded
for the Olympics and will remain after the Games; a new light-rail
system linking the downtown area and the University of Utah, site
of the opening and closing ceremonies; a spruced-up interstate road
system; the Hilton Salt Lake City Center's $12 million remodeling
of its 500 rooms; the renovation of the Salt Lake Marriott
Downtown, which has 509 rooms; and new hotel inventory, including
the 775-room Grand America Hotel, which opened last March.
The region's core attractions include Salt Lake City's landmark
Temple Square; the Great Salt Lake, and Antelope State Park, where
upwards of 600 bison roam.
But the build-up to the Winter Games has had its problems,
tourism officials said.
Mountain West Travel's Tokita said many skiers and other repeat
visitors postponed their trips this year, believing they would not
have access to the slopes, or that pre-Olympic crowds would get in
Other obstacles tourism officials have been dealing with are
speculation that the region would be too expensive this year and
that pre-Olympic construction left Park City a mess. Neither is
true, they said.
Harriet Roop, manager of Sundial Travel in Fountain Valley,
Calif., and president of the Orange County chapter of ASTA, agreed
that some clients shied away from Park City this year "because of
all the extra security" they expected.
"Positive feedback from the media" during the Olympics will be
critical to Salt Lake's success thereafter, she added.
Also critical to post-Olympics success will be operator interest
in the region.
Southwest Airlines Vacations already has unveiled a variety of
post-Olympics packages to Salt Lake City and Park City, with 37
Sample five-night packages, based on a March 11 departure from
Seattle, start at $399 per person, double, with stays at the
Hampton Inn Salt Lake City Downtown, and at $569 using Prospector
Square Lodging in Park City.
The operator will add a car rental (Alamo or Hertz), airport
transfers, ski-lift transfers and ski-lift tickets to the
Southwest Airlines Vacations is one of 40 vacation-booking
services listed in Park City's 2002 Olympic Year Vacation Planner.
Also useful is the 98-page Salt Lake Tour Planner.
The booklets are good reference tools for post-Olympic trips to
the area because they list a variety of services that operate
year-round. To obtain the Park City planner, call (800) 453-1360;
for Salt Lake's, call (800) 541-4955. (More information about
Olympics-area hotels, attractions and events can be found in the
Clipboard section of the Feb. 4 issue of Travel Weekly, Page
Tourism officials estimated that 8 million visitors will visit
Salt Lake City this year. But some 2 million visitor-days will be
Olympics-related, based on average stays of four to seven days per
And, on any given day during the Games, some 80,000 visitors
will be at the various Olympic venues around Salt Lake City and
Park City. Officials are counting on those guests to become repeat
visitors and to spread the word about the region. Utah is hoping to
attract 18.5 million visitors this year.
For more information on the area, contact the Salt Lake
Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 541-4955 or www.visitsaltlake.com or the Park City Convention
& Visitors Bureau at (800) 451-1360 or www.parkcityinfo.com.