International tourists drawn to Park City’s Olympic heritage | ParkRecord.com

International tourists drawn to Park City’s Olympic heritage

Gina Barker, The Park Record

When it comes to taking a bite out of the international tourism market, Park City is taking advantage of its Olympic Legacy status to draw in its growing numbers. Though consumers at home might not see ads promoting the city’s involvement in the 2002 Olympics, advertising abroad is another story.

"Internationally, it speaks more," said Park City Chamber/Bureau President Bill Malone. "When I speak to people, those traveling internationally recognize our involvement with the Olympics more than others. There’s certainly a heightened awareness among our international tourists of what we did in 2002."

Hot spot markets include the United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and Germany, Malone added. The chamber tracks its increasing international market through lift ticket sales and since 2008 has seen double-digit increases of international visitors.

"If Park City pushes it, the international market will be receptive of ads highlighting our Olympic involvement," said president of the advertising company, C&S Creative, Cathy Slusher. "Being a host to the Olympics Games says, ‘This is a quality place, a world-class athletic town.’"

Many of C&S clients make a point to mention the Olympics in ads, inviting consumers to visit Park City like the rest of the world did in 2002, Slusher said.

"It’s opened so many doors," she added. "People are so receptive because you don’t get the Olympics unless you’re worthy, and Park City hosted a majority of the events. So, what does that say?"

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Both Malone and Slusher agreed on one point: the Olympics bring credibility to the quality of the town as a whole. Malone compared it to a giant stamp of approval that says, Park City can keep up with the best of them.

"The Olympics have served us well," Slusher added. "It put us in a different universe in how the world perceives Park City."

Ski Utah’s director, Nathan Rafferty, said the Olympics brings back fond memories when Salt Lake City and Park City were buzzing what he called an ‘Olympic spirit.’ "It’s a romantic idea, the comradery and patriotism that takes place during the Olympics," Rafferty said. "It was a great honor to host it."

"And Park City is a very strong international destination, that’s true and the Olympics has grown that idea," he added. "People from overseas when they hear Utah, they think of the Olympics."

As international interest continues to grow in the area, the chamber is navigating new waters on how to get the best bang for the buck, how to advertise to different audiences from different areas of the world.

"International tourism is becoming a greater piece of our winter business," Malone said, "but each country is different in how they respond to our ads. The Olympics is one thing that’s tied into all of our international ads because we know it works."