CVB pushes skiing, outdoors and has goal to increase number of visitors

Nov 23 2012 - 4:22pm

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OGDEN -- With the loss of major events such as the U.S. Archery World Cup and the Winter Dew Tour, the Ogden/Weber Convention and Visitors Bureau is looking at how it will accomplish its goals in the coming year.

To do so, the Bureau hopes to continue to demonstrate the area's place as a world-class skiing and outdoor destination.

CVB President and Chief Executive Officer Sara Toliver presented the 2013 marketing plan to the Weber County commissioners Tuesday during the commission's regular meeting.

The plan addresses CVB goals to increase revenue and the number of visitors to the area in 2013.

Until recently, most of the area's tourism dollars came from meetings, such as conventions, but the focus has begun to change.

"Now we've been out promoting how great Ogden is as an outdoor recreation mecca," Toliver said.

"With the archery and the Winter Dew Tour having their final year," she said, "we have some big holes to fill."

Recent accolades, such as the Ogden River being named a Blue Ribbon Fishery and Powder Magazine naming Ogden the No. 2 ski town in North America, should help increase the area's popularity.

"We're just starting to see it come through more now than we ever have in the past," Toliver said.

To boost exposure to the Ogden area, the CVB has taken it upon itself to schedule more familiarization tours to introduce tour companies, event planners and travel journalists to the area, rather than rely on state-

sponsored visits.

"We know when people come to see our community firsthand, it sells itself," Toliver said.

People come for a convention and stay a few extra days to go skiing, or they bring their family along, but Toliver said having conventions isn't enough. The CVB hopes people will see the area as a vacation destination, not just a place to hold meetings.

She said the area is currently blessed to have an accessible downtown area with businesses willing to work together, in addition to the outdoor offerings in Ogden Valley.

And tourism will not be limited to the valley. As agritourism grows, Toliver said, even the western portion of the county will see an influx of tourists.

However, moving toward becoming a vacation destination has its own problems.

Toliver said it's harder to quantify families coming to visit, because they tend to book directly through a hotel.

The real measure will be the returns from the transient room tax. Next year, the visitors bureau hopes to increase that income by 10 percent.

To accomplish its goals, a few challenges must be overcome, including a reduced number of meetings, shortened booking windows and outdated technology.

The CVB hopes to combat those challenges with the area's accessibility, strong repeat customer base and the willingness of the various entities in the county to work together.

Weber County Commission Chairman Craig Dearden complimented the work Toliver and the visitors bureau have done to boost tourism in the area.

"We understand the great strides you've made," Dearden said. "I know it's you and your staff and everything you do."

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