National Geographic Traveler: 727,277 sets of eyeballs reading about Main Street |

National Geographic Traveler: 727,277 sets of eyeballs reading about Main Street

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

There are more than 700,000 people out there who might be more inclined to book a vacation to Park City this winter than they were a few weeks ago.

National Geographic Traveler, a top-shelf travel magazine with a circulation of 727,277, has published a full-page feature about Main Street in its November-December edition. The piece, mentioned on the front cover of the magazine alongside those about places like Los Angeles, New Zealand and Spain, comes as people are still considering their vacation options for the upcoming ski season.

Under the headline "Warm Welcome in Park City," the one-page piece describes some of the destinations on Main Street, including the Egyptian Theatre and the Park City Museum. The piece focuses on Main Street rather than the Park City area’s three mountain resorts.

"At first I wasn’t looking for it. Then I looked at it and it said ‘Park City’ on the front page," said Bill Malone, the president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, describing the magazine’s readers as a "well-traveled audience."

The piece includes a small map of the Main Street area pointing out the locations of the nine places — a mix of stores, restaurants, nightclubs and cultural institutions — that the writer describes in blurbs. It also prominently features a picture of a midwinter scene on Main Street. The caption below the Main Street photograph says the street "boasts many buildings rebuilt following a fire in 1898," a reference to the terrible blaze that destroyed much of what was Park City at that time.

"With the recent repeal of Utah’s arcane liquor laws, nightlife is thriving like never before. Well, almost. The bordellos of its silver mining heyday are gone, replaced by art galleries and shopping boutiques, but the clapboard storefronts still look like the Wild West," the writer, Charles Kulander, penned in the piece, adding that people may "watch for paparazzi shoot-outs during January’s Sundance Film Festival."

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Magazines that publish features about Park City more typically cater to the skiing and snowboarding crowds. Ski magazine occasionally writes about Park City, as an example, and the three local mountain resorts usually place well in Ski’s closely watched annual rankings.

The National Geographic Traveler piece will likely be received well in Park City, and its exploration of the off-the-slopes attractions will probably be appreciated by both tourism officials and businesspeople. There are ongoing attempts to build tourism that does not exclusively rely on skiing, and the mentions of the not-for-profits are of particular note.

"It’s very valuable for us to be in publications like that, especially to be mentioned on the front page, the front cover," Malone said.

The Kimball Art Center is one of the places that warranted a blurb, with the writer describing the Kimball as a "community arts center with engaging workshops and MoMA-caliber exhibits," a reference to the renowned Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Robin Marrouche, the executive director of the Kimball, said the art center is "thrilled, obviously" with the mention. The piece includes a photo taken inside the Kimball. People with the magazine contacted the Kimball a few months ago seeking photographs and information, she said. Marrouche said she anticipates additional people stopping into the Kimball over the holidays based on the piece, which notes there is a special exhibit of Ansel Adams works at the art center.

"We can’t buy this kind of publicity," Marrouche said. "We just can’t."