Combining festivals, skiing may increase tourist dollars

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 10:27 AM

Michael Fenton


In response to the Jan. 23 editorial, “Mix Sundance with Winterfest,” I have a comment and suggestion. It’s true the Sundance Film Festival in Ogden is primarily a local’s event and we are lucky to have it in Junction City. Many Weber County residents find local screening too hard to resist. As mentioned in the initial article, Ogden hotels and restaurants do not see a lot of business in connection with the Sundance Film Festival. This is not all bad; although the hospitality industry would like to benefit more from the film festival. Area hotels and restaurants traditionally see the pinnacle of the snow skiing season begin in January, but there is still room for growth, which could come from Sundance.

Winterfest indeed is a crowd favorite in Ogden and annually attracts thousands, but again, it’s a local crowd. Although there is some cross-over in demographics for attending Winterfest and Sundance, typically, people don’t want to wait in long lines for a seat at Sundance after attending activities throughout the day. Also, in the past, when the two festivals fell during the same time period, problems arose regarding parking limitations.

If Ogden city and Weber County could inspire Sundance organizers to allow Weber County’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to promote the film festival in marketing campaigns for Ogden as a destination, and combine the two festivals, plus world-class skiing, perhaps the mixing of the two festivals would make sense.

The largest obstacle is that Sundance holds tightly to its trademarked name and doesn’t allow third parties to mention it in collateral or printed material. On the other hand, if all the parties could work together and come to an agreement, Sundance would have a good reason to add more screening to its line-up in Ogden since it could screen to tourists, not just locals.

Ogden’s hospitality and retail would benefit from visitors and local governments and jurisdictions would benefit from increased taxes. It’s important to consider that the millions of dollars these festivals bring in are already in Ogden, but tourists to Ogden bring in and leave new money, even after they go back home.

Michael Fenton

Director of sales

Ben Lomond Suites

Historic Hotel


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