Meetings & Conventions: Newsline
OUTDOOR RETAILERS STAND UP AGAINST NEW
ECO-UNFRIENDLY LAND LAWS
Trade Show Threatens to Leave Utah
Salt Lake City: Mountains vs. moguls might mean an OIA
The largest outdoor retailer organization in the
United States is using the power of the trade show to try to
influence government on both state and federal levels.
The Boulder, Colo.-based Outdoor Industry Association has
threatened to pull two shows from Salt Lake City, following deals
between Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt and the Bush administration that
lift restrictions on development of public lands.
The agreements reached between Utah and the Interior Department
in effect “unprotect six million acres that are prime recreation
areas,” said Frank Hugelmeyer, OIA’s president. “There is no other
industry more dependent on those lands,” he added.
The OIA is the major sponsor of summer and winter shows that,
combined, attract between 16,000 and 18,000 people and represent
$24 million in direct visitor spending. The winter 2005 show is the
earliest that the group would relocate.
According to Mark White, vice president of sales and marketing
for the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau, the value of
the OIA goes far beyond the economic impact. For Salt Lake City,
the group’s presence has been a stamp of approval for outdoor
enthusiasts, said White.
Already there has been exhibitor fallout. David D. Morrow,
president of Showers Pass Clothing in Ukiah, Calif., said he will
boycott the summer and winter shows if they remain in Utah.
“What the government understands is money, and these shows bring
a lot of money to Utah,” said Morrow.
The Salt Lake CVB has been actively trying to find a solution by
bringing together key players in the dispute. The CVB also has sent
letters to members encouraging them to share feedback with the
governor, said White.
The upshot: Gov. Leavitt must re-establish protection on the six
million acres, or the OIA will find a new home for its shows, said
Hugelmeyer. A decision will be announced at the show in
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