SOUTHERN UTAH — In an effort to rally together those involved in the Southern Utah travel and tourism industry, and to focus on the region’s needs, capabilities, direction, and offerings of interest, the first Southern Utah Tourism Summit is being held in St. George.
The gathering will take place Feb. 22 at the Electric Theater, 68 E. Tabernacle St., St. George, organized by the managing team behind zionnationalpark.com and co-hosted by Washington County.
In what organizers intend will become an annual event, the summit is designed to unite the region’s private tourism sector, build bridges with the Utah Office of Tourism and the Utah Tourism Industry Association, and to create a space for conversation and a spirit of cooperation between various counties and businesses.
The summit’s website states that organizers hope to “contribute toward elevating and supporting regional perspectives and practices,” which includes the Southern third portion of the state being an integral part of the overall picture of tourism in Utah.
“We set out to try and pull in everyone in the Southern Utah region to really fill a void in collaboration of what our voice can be for Southern Utah,” said Breck Dockstader, one of the event’s organizers.
Southern Utah has so many unique assets and offerings, Dockstader said, but the Southern Utah tourism industry is not really collaborating the way it could.
By uniting the industry at a single summit, Dockstader said, he hopes to get everyone excited about the upcoming tourism season. As well, the summit aims to get those representing private entities to participate in the conversation and become more aligned with and supportive of the efforts of the Utah Office of Tourism and the Utah Tourism Industry Association.
The collaboration, Dockstader said, will make the visitor experience in Southern Utah tremendously better no matter what county a visitor is traveling to.
Event organizer Jocelyn Crowther said they want the different tourism promoters to be proud of all they have to offer and to elevate how they encourage people to come to their areas.
One focal point of the summit will be how those involved in the tourism industry might market their offerings; for example, how to get visitors to extend their stay so they can experience the charm and hidden gems of an area.
The summit aims to present a place where businesses can collaborate with one another to help build a clientele that wants to not only stay longer, Crowther said, but that wants to come back time and again.
The Southern Utah Tourism Summit will feature five key speakers, each representing the tourism industry or ways to market and advertise within the industry.
- Kaitlin Eskelson – executive director of the Utah Tourism Industry Association.
- Vicki Varela – managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism.
- Glenn Price – founder of Bondir.
- Fynn Glover – CEO of Roots Rated Media.
- Roger Brooks – president and CEO of Destination Marketing.
Guests will also hear brief messages from Washington County Commissioner Zachary Renstrom and from Dockstader.
The theme of the Southern Utah Tourism Summit is “We are So Utah,” and guests are invited to share what makes them “So Utah” both at the event and through social media using the hashtag #wearesoutah.
The goal for future summits is to rotate locations throughout the region that it serves.
The summit is open to anyone whose livelihood is within, represents or wishes to collaborate on behalf of tourism in Southern Utah, organizer Cody Adent said. While it may be obvious for an outdoor influencer or outfitter to attend, it could also be just as valuable for a real estate agent, a restaurateur or community theater director.
Registration for the summit is $40 per person. Registration is open and can be done online.
The Southern Utah Tourism Summit is a proud supporter of the Zion National Park Forever Project, the official nonprofit partner of Zion National Park. Guests registering for the summit will have the option to donate money to help support the organization’s many park improvement programs.
For more information about the Southern Utah Tourism Summit including registration, a list of sponsors and partnerships visit the summit’s website.
Originally posted on St. George News | Photo by Aaron Crane, St. George News