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Large citywide conventions have a significant impact on Salt Lake’s visitor economy. Unfortunately, (and not surprisingly) those conventions will be noticeably absent this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The most recent large tradeshow, FenceTech, was held in the Salt Palace March 3-6. While attendance was somewhat negatively affected by early news of COVID-19, a total of 6,448 attendees still came to Salt Lake for this successful Business-to-Business event.
The University of Utah’s Policy Institute conducted intercept surveys of the FenceTech attendees which determined, on average, each attendee spent $1,093.47 at Salt Lake County businesses. Collectively, the attendees occupied nearly 25,000 hotel room nights and spent $6.76 million while in our community. Of that spending, 44% was on accommodations, 31% on retail purchases and 10% at restaurants and bars. The attendees were positively impressed with Salt Lake and the surrounding area, with 70% expressing a high likelihood of returning for a leisure trip with family and friends.
Despite the unprecedented slow down, the Visit Salt Lake sales team continues to pursue future opportunities. Last week, Sally O’Neil, working in conjunction with Chicago-based Jeff Gassaway, secured the 2025 Annual Assembly of the American Academy of Physical Medicine. After bidding for this convention 11 times since 1990, Salt Lake edged out Denver, Seattle, Austin, San Antonio, Chicago, Orlando, Boston and Washington DC. This meeting will attract 3,200 attendees who will collectively spend over $3.1 million while in our community.
So while we may all be working remotely, we are most definitely working to bring conventions to experience all that Salt Lake County has to offer!