In the four years since the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau was reorganized as a private, non-profit association, convention business has increased 400 percent and tourism efforts have multiplied with many tour and ski group bookings.
Rick E. Davis, bureau president, noted that 1988 hotel and motel room sales in the Salt Lake area increased 20 percent over 1987. He said the increase will also translate into a budget increase for the bureau in 1989 because more transient room tax revenue was collected as a result of increased hotel and motel room bookings.Speaking at the bureau's annual meeting in Symphony Hall Monday, Davis said convention sales increased from $7 million to $30 million annually in the four years since the agency reorganized. He said many conventions have also been booked for future years.
In addition to hearing Davis' report, the annual meeting was a time to honor those people or organizations instrumental in boosting Salt Lake area convention and tourism business.
Truman F. Clawson, chairman of the bureau's board, presented a large plaque containing a picture of the Salt Lake Temple to President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Clawson said the church's facilities of Temple Square, Promised Valley Playhouse and Family History Library and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir are important in attracting visitors to Utah. He said the choir is a "roving ambassador," the library is used by 2,500 people daily, and Temple Square was host for more than 4 million visitors last year.
President Hinckley said he appreciated the recognition and is grateful for the work of the people in the church's facilities. He recently visited with architects working on the remodeling of Hotel Utah and said when the project is completed it will be another reason for people to visit the area.
The increasing number of people joining the LDS Church, the number of missionaries serving in all parts of the world, concerts and programs by the Tabernacle Choir and the increasing number of people interested in tracing their family history will provide more interest in Utah, President Hinckley said.
Davis received an award on behalf of his staff from J. Peter Huestis, publisher of Meetings and Convention Magazine, for being one of eight convention and visitor bureaus in the United States providing the most professional help in organizing conventions and meetings as voted by the magazine subscribers.
Davis said it was a special honor because there are about 250 convention and visitor bureaus in the United States.
Huestis said he arrived in Salt Lake City 21/2 years ago to help plan an Inc. 500 convention, and the result was the group's largest convention ever. "The treatment we received here was something special," he said.
Davis presented blazers to 10 people named as convention ambassadors for their groups holding large conventions in Salt Lake City. He also encouraged everyone to sell their organization on holding conventions in the area.
Blazer recipients were: June Calder, Federation of Genealogical Societies; Jerry Cochran, International Shrine Clown Association; Carol Dibblee, American Contract Bridge League; Carl Grunander, Distributive Education Clubs of America; Dallas Holmes, National University Continuing Education Association; Claire Poulson, National Sheriffs Association; Allyn Rogers, Health Occupations Students of America; Dr. Jeff Saffle, American Burn Association; Ford Thueson, 381st Bomb Group Memorial Association; and Cecilla Walker, Professional Secretaries International.
Elected to the bureau's board of trustees were Wendell J. Ashton, Kenneth H. Beesley, H. Roger Boyer, F. Wayne Chamberlain, Clawson, M. Garfield Cook, K.S. Cornaby, Trevor Cushman, L. Ray Gardiner Jr., Dino Georgalas, Ross E. Kendell, Kenneth Y. Knight, W. Mack Lawrence, Steve Lewis, Larry Lunt and Scott M. Matheson.
Others are Kelly K. Matthews, Marie Nelson, Carolyn Nichols, Richard Nordlund, Patrick A. Shea, Harris H. Simmons, Bob Springmeyer Jr., Verl R. Topham and Olene S. Walker.