Park City Pulse: Much to be thankful for |

Park City Pulse: Much to be thankful for

Jennifer Wesselhoff
Park City Chamber/Bureau president and CEO

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are ready for a relaxing holiday with family and friends, not to mention turkey, tryptophan, football and leftovers. As we prepare for a fantastic celebration, I am grateful that safety protocols, vaccines, common sense and natural immunity are enabling a safer holiday than in the pandemic’s earliest days.

Jennifer Wesselhoff, president and CEO of the Park City Chamber/Bureau.
Courtesy photo

Please remember to “shop local” this Black Friday and Small Business Saturday weekend. Your fellow Parkites own and operate hundreds of our local businesses, offering quality goods and services while contributing to a better Park City. I hope you enjoy reading about them in the Chamber/Bureau’s weekend Small Town Story articles here in The Park Record. Buying local is also a great way to sidestep potential supply chain issues while keeping your tax dollars local, where they help pay for the public services we all need.

Recent warm temperatures aside, we are expecting a robust 2021-22 ski season after last year’s record breaker, when 5.3 million skiers hit Utah’s slopes. At the Chamber/Bureau’s Fall Forum kickoff last week, we announced that lodging reservations for November, December and January have surpassed last year’s actual totals, and Deer Valley’s Coleen Reardon said resort preseason sales have outperformed pre-pandemic numbers.

Heading into the holiday travel season, one-third (33%) of American travelers now say that COVID-19 no longer has any influence on their travel plans and overall demand is still extremely strong with 89% of American travelers indicating that they have plans to travel in the next six months. All indicators point to another good year, though COVID is still out there, unpredictable as ever. Our ongoing labor shortage looms over the season, too; you will want to pack your patience along with your gear as some businesses anticipate being understaffed by as much as 20%.

As the new season approaches, we are excited Park City is thinking globally and acting locally to sustain our unique character and environment, and I am proud the Chamber/Bureau is making significant contributions. Presently, we are recruiting for a director of sustainable tourism, a new position that aligns us with local governments and resorts that have added similar positions in recent years.

I’m looking forward to the pending results of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s evaluation of Park City and Summit County, based on more than three dozen sustainable tourism criteria. As the name suggests, the GSTC sets standards for sustainable tourism around the world, from Kyoto to Barcelona to Sedona. We are lucky that GSTC vice-chair Dr. Kelly Bricker knows us well, having studied the tourism industry for 14 years at the University of Utah before joining Arizona State University this year as director of the Hainan ASU Joint Tourism College. The result of our collaboration, which will include extensive community outreach, will be Park City’s first Sustainable Tourism Plan. The plan will guide us in a balanced approach to tourism management — respecting our environment as well as our desire for a unique mountain town quality of life, a strong economy and a memorable visitor experience.

You will hear me talking about these and other topics on KPCW with Leslie Thatcher, usually on the fourth Monday of each month. Our most recent conversation aired live this Monday during the 8 a.m. Local News Hour, and it is posted on the Local News Hour page at Our next chat won’t be until Dec. 27, when I expect we will have a lot more ski season and sustainability news! I hope you will make a note to tune in.

For all of us at the Chamber/Bureau and on behalf of our 950-plus members, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving holiday!

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