Ten Utahns will be in Japan Feb. 3-10 to meet with Japan ski industry officials on ways to better provide services to Japanese skiers when they come to Utah.
The delegation will be led by Lt. Gov. W. Val Oveson. Accompanying him will be ski resort operators, hotel officials and Wendy Haight, travel marketing analyst for the state's International Business Development Office.Haight said the trip is part of the program by which All Nippon Airways, the world's seventh largest airline, brings Japanese skiers to Utah. Several months ago, ANA sent research teams to the United States to study which ski area the company would promote.
Utah was selected.
Haight said ANA has been happy with its decision and the way the tours are running this year. However, because this is a long-term commitment, they felt it would be beneficial to educate Utah ski resort operators on the way Japanese ski resorts function. This will enable Utah ski resort operators to better accommodate foreign visitors, she said.
The goal of the program is to bring 2,000 Japanese skiers to Utah this season and that should be reached easily, especially since Utah has received ample amounts of snow and spring skiing seems likely.
ANA doesn't fly into Utah, but brings its passengers to Los Angeles, where they transfer to a Delta flight to Salt Lake City. Once in the city, four Japanese people, who have established an office in Salt Lake County, help them with hotel reservations and transportation to the ski resorts.
Four Salt Lakers have been hired to occupy desks in some hotels to help the Japanese visitors have a good Utah skiing experience, Haight said. At Snowbird, Deer Valley and Park City ski resorts, signs in Japanese inform the visitors about the degree of difficulty of certain ski runs.
Haight said ANA has spent $1.7 million promoting its Utah ski vacations, including the printing of 5 million brochures containing colored pictures of Utah ski areas and Salt Lake City attractions. ANA also has promoted Utah skiing on Japanese television and in newspapers with large circulations.
Several large-circulation Japanese magazines have printed articles about Utah (and several other Western states) and Utah skiing has been part of the presentation.
Haight said ANA is now working on a plan to regularly bring Japanese tourists to Utah during the summer.