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Tom Smart, Deseret News, File

Outdoor Retailer winter event brings economic boost to Utah

By Jasen Lee  |  Posted Jan 7th, 2017 @ 1:51pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Beginning Monday, Utah resumes its role as host of the largest outdoor sports and marketing event in the nation, resulting in a significant lift to the local economy.

An estimated 22,000 professionals and exhibitors from around the world will converge on the Beehive State for the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2017, generating more than $20 million in direct delegate spending for the event's four-day run.

Figures for total visitor spending are based on surveys of convention delegates conducted by the University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Data collected over the past five years indicates that the average delegate spends about $933 during their stay while attending a conference at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

The Outdoor Retailer event is a leading growth vehicle for the winter sports market and brands that are interested in progressing and advancing the outdoor marketplace, said Scott Beck, president and CEO.

The convention, which runs Monday through Thursday, starts with the All Mountain Demo at Solitude Mountain Resort and will focus on backcountry safety. "This unique event gives retailers, reps and the media first look at the season’s latest gear, equipment, accessories and technology," he said.

Both the demo day event and the show are business-to-business events and closed to the public.

“Not only does the biannual show highlight the important economic impact of the recreation industry to our county and the entire state of Utah, but the industry it represents has become an important job growth sector by creating and providing jobs throughout the state from the many outdoor recreation-based businesses that now call Salt Lake and Utah home,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams.

"Salt Lake City has provided such a welcoming environment for the outdoor industry to convene and conduct its business,” said Marisa Nicholson, Emerald Expositions vice president and show director. "The community shares our passion for the outdoors, and the snow and beautiful mountains serves as the perfect backdrop. We look forward to our time in Salt Lake.”

Nationally, the outdoor industry is responsible for billions of dollars in economic impact, according to the most recent Recreation Economy Report. The industry accounts for 6.1 million direct American jobs, $646 billion in annual direct consumer spending, $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue and $39.7 billion in state and local tax revenue, the report states.

Last month, President Barack Obama signed the Outdoor REC Act into law, representing a milestone for the Outdoor Industry Association and its members, said the association’s executive director, Amy Roberts.

“Outdoor Industry Association and the thousands of manufacturers, retailers and service providers in the outdoor recreation industry know about the hundreds of millions of dollars our industry contributes to the U.S. economy and the millions of jobs our businesses support,” she said. “The passage of the REC Act shows that Congress and the administration understand that as well.”

Jasen Lee
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