Park City Chamber/Bureau leader readies to retire, creating opening for Arizona tourism official
The Park City Chamber/Bureau has tapped a tourism executive from Arizona to become the organization’s next president and CEO, choosing someone from red rock country as the right person to draw people to the slopes of the Wasatch Mountains.
The Chamber/Bureau on Friday said Jennifer Wesselhoff was selected for the top staff position. She will succeed the longtime president and CEO, Bill Malone. He has led the Chamber/Bureau for 21 years and is expected to retire in the middle of October.
“Similar to Park City, Sedona recognizes that a unique natural setting defines our quality of life and economic health,” Wesselhoff said in a prepared statement released by the Chamber/Bureau. “Educating residents and visitors, and advocating for responsible stewardship, including transportation management, is the key to a sustainable tourism plan.”
Sedona, occupying a spectacular setting, attracts people with outdoors opportunities in the red rocks coupled with cultural offerings in the city. It is located between Phoenix and Flagstaff, and many see it as a stop on trips to Grand Canyon National Park.
A Chamber/Bureau release said Wesselhoff was instrumental in the creation of a Sedona Sustainable Tourism Plan that focuses on issues like quality of life, environmental preservation, the vitality of the economy and the experience of visitors. The release also says Wesselhoff has worked with Malone on industry projects.
Wesselhoff will arrive at an extraordinary time for the Chamber/Bureau as it attempts to revive the tourism-based economy amid the continued spread of the novel coronavirus. The summertime numbers have appeared to be solid, but there are numerous unknowns about the upcoming ski season. The winter is the more lucrative time of the year, and Wesselhoff is slated to begin at the Chamber/Bureau just weeks before the scheduled start of the ski season in November. The Chamber/Bureau has long marketed the community to visitors, leading to questions in recent months about whether the organization could have a broader role in assisting local businesses as well.
Malone is 66 and arrived in Park City after tourism posts in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In an interview, he said his time leading the Chamber/Bureau was a “blessing.” He credited the chairs of the Chamber/Bureau board of directors and the Chamber/Bureau staffers for the successes.
In his time leading the Chamber/Bureau, Malone said, Park City rose in prominence as a mountain resort. The community moved from the “bottom row in the supermarket … to the eye-level row,” he said.
Malone described Park City as now standing with well-known mountains resorts in Colorado like Aspen and Vail as well as Whistler in British Columbia.
“I don’t think it had the cache, the recognition, for what we had to offer,” he said. “I don’t think people knew what we had to offer.”
He said the 2002 Winter Olympics, when the Park City area hosted upward of half of the competitions, rose the community’s stature in the tourism industry. The Games moved Park City “strictly from kind of a national destination to an international destination,” he said.
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