Park City Chamber/Bureau leader Bill Malone inducted into the Utah Tourism Hall of Fame
Park City Chamber/Bureau President and CEO Bill Malone is the latest Parkite to be included in the Utah Tourism Hall of Fame.
Malone’s name now sits alongside Bob Wheaton, Stein Eriksen, Craig Badami, Kim McClelland and Hans Feugi, thanks to the Utah Office of Tourism and the Utah Tourism Industry Association, which deemed him one of the 2020 inductees.
“Just to be considered worthy enough to be included in that same conversation is very humbling,” Malone said.
Utah Tourism Hall of Fame recipients are selected based on their history of contributions to the state’s tourism industry. Malone has led the Chamber/Bureau for more than 20 years and has been a crucial figure in Park City’s emergence as a world-renowned resort destination.
“It’s an honor to recognize Bill Malone, who has contributed significantly to building Park City’s brand and economy,” said Vicki Varela, managing director of the Utah Office of Tourism. “The state’s reputation and tourism economy have also benefited big time from Bill’s many years of leadership.”
The other two 2020 inductees are Val Hale, executive director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and Joyce Kelly, international marketing manager of the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office.
“I have to say it’s a huge honor for me to be recognized by my peers in the tourism and hospitality industry in the state,” said Malone, who recently announced his retirement.
Malone began his Park City tenure in 1999 after serving in tourism posts in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Park City’s focus at that time was the upcoming 2002 Winter Games.
“It was all about getting the business community prepared and finding out how we were going to get through a ski season in an Olympic year,” Malone said.
Another issue was figuring out what role Park City’s Olympic venues would serve in the years following the Games.
“There were a lot of conversations regarding the Utah Olympic Park,” Malone said. “We wanted to make sure it was viable, and that it would continue to serve a great purpose in the community and not become a white elephant that some facilities have become in some Olympic cities.”
Another issue he confronted immediately was Y2K.
“We had long discussions of what that was going to look like in terms of the New Year, and whether or not people would come to ski over the holidays at that time,” Malone said.
After Y2K passed without incident, the 2002 Games talks resumed, but shifted dramatically after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
“There were a couple of days thereafter that many people involved with the Olympics were curious of whether we were going to have any Olympics that year,” Malone said.
An email from Mitt Romney, who was leading the Salt Lake City Olympic Organizing Committee, quelled those doubts.
“I recall Mitt saying that we needed to focus on bringing smiles on people’s faces,” Malone said. “Then once the torch arrived in Park City the day before opening ceremonies, we were well on our way, and it was a memorable 17 days of work.”
Other challenges Malone faced throughout his time at the Chamber/Bureau were the Great Recession and the legal battle between former Park City Mountain Resort owner Powdr Corp. and Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, which ultimately resulted in Vail Resorts’ acquisition of the ski area.
“There was a lot of anxiety the local businesses were going through at that time,” Malone said.
But the sale to Vail Resorts brought a new dynamic to town, and the resort underwent a series of upgrades in the terrain, snowmaking and dining facilities, according to Malone.
“We reached the point where we began attracting more luxury properties like the Montage,” he said.
While Park City is primarily known as a winter-sport destination, tourism in the summer months has grown during Malone’s tenure at the Chamber/Bureau with the popularity of events like the Park City Kimball Arts Festival, Park City Institute’s Big Stars, Bright Nights summer concerts and the Tour of Utah bicycle race.
“We really began utilizing the infrastructure that was built basically for the winter, and pivoting what summer could be about into a much stronger effort,” Malone said. “That brought the advent of more meeting spaces with hotels and lodges, which has driven a growth in terms of how we can introduce people to this beautiful place. I feel very proud when I hear stories of people who have decided to relocate and stay after visiting here vacation.”
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