MIAMI -- Colorado-based Vail Resorts said it named Roberto Moreno
chairman of the Mountain Diversity Task Force, a group that will
try to boost minority participation in skiing.
The goal is to increase the participation of minorities to 10%
of the U.S. ski market within five years, Moreno said. "We thought
it was imperative that the skiing community reach out and [attract]
minorities," he said. "There are many Hispanics, blacks and Asians
who ski, but not in significant numbers in terms of the total
market for mountain recreation." Moreno said minorities account for
almost $1 trillion in spendable income.
The task force was launched in June, Moreno said. It is planning
its first promotional effort in the Miami area; Dallas, Los Angeles
and Chicago will be targeted at later dates.
Among the first national promotional channels will be a page on
Vail Resort's Web site, www.snow.com, he said. Called Mountain Diversity, it is
slated to appear Aug. 15.
Moreno said Miami was chosen for the initial campaign because it
is the nation's second-largest ski market and has a large Hispanic
market. "There's great potential among Hispanics who are not aware
of the ski vacation," said Olga Ramudo of Express Travel here.
Ramudo, also a member of the task force, said her agency has been
developing the South Florida market for about 10 years and operates
as many as 12 charters a season to the Vail area. "Express Travel
is a good example of what a travel agency with sufficient
infrastructure can do to get Hispanics to ski," she said.
To help develop the market in other areas, Moreno said, the task
force is preparing all-inclusive ski packages for promotion by
agencies with a large minority clientele. Moreno, who operates the
Hotel Frisco in Frisco, Colo., said that, in addition to attracting
more minority visitors to the central Rockies, the group seeks to
increase minority managerial positions among resorts there. Another
objective, he said, is to increase the numbers of young persons
interested in skiing, he said. "Skiing is one of those things that,
the earlier you start, the greater your interest," he said.
Ramudo praised Vail Associates chairman Adam Aron, who was based
in Miami for two years as president of Norwegian Cruise Line, for
inspiring the campaign and said, "Because he spent time in South
Florida, he's sensitive to the fact that there's potential for
[attracting] minorities to the ski community." Also playing a major
role in the campaign is Vail marketing executive Bruce Mainzer.
Moreno emphasized that the campaign is not directed at Latin
Americans but at U.S. citizens. "Vail has already been successful
in attracting Latin American skiers, who now comprise 6% to 7% of
[its] ski business," he said. For that reason, he said, promotional
materials in Spanish are not a campaign priority.
However, those travel agencies that feel they can benefit from
distributing materials in Spanish can obtain them directly from
Vail Associates' marketing department, he said.