Outdoor Retailer Organizers Give Utah Governor Ultimatum

August 1, 2012

With the Outdoor Retailer semiannual trade shows outgrowing their home at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City already an issue, the Outdoor Industry Association, one of the shows’ organizers, also recently expressed its discontent with Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert’s public land policies in the state.

OIA’s concerns include the governor’s lawsuit challenging the federal government over jurisdiction of the federal public lands and some road claims within national parks, monuments and wilderness areas that would allow motorized vehicles on dirt trails.

In an effort to resolve these issues, the OIA board of directors met with Gov. Herbert at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, a show OIA partners on with Nielsen Expositions that is running Aug. 1-5.

“We are encouraged that Gov.  Herbert committed to engage with the outdoor industry to create a shared vision of how the State of Utah can pursue public land policies that support the outdoor industry and the National Outdoor Recreation System upon which the health of Utah’s economy and our industry depend,” said OIA officials.

They added, “We expect that the governor’s administration will pursue this collaboration with the outdoor industry within the next 30 days, and that the governor’s administration will provide specific recommendations by Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2013.”

In the meantime, the shows have been considering a move out of Salt Lake City since they have been bursting at the seams, with huge tents having to be erected to house exhibitors at this year’s summer show.

OIA officials said in a statement: “OIA, in partnership with owners Nielsen Expositions, is continuing productive conversations about the logistical needs of the trade show and greatly appreciates efforts to meet our challenges.”

Earlier this year, OIA and Nielsen asked Outdoor Retailer attendees to take part in an online conversation through the Web site www.outdoorretailer.com/collective-voice about where they think the show should be held.

The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market showfloor grew from 416,361 net square feet at the 2010 show to 456,508 net sq. ft. at last year’s record-breaking event. The show’s overall footprint was more than 1 million square feet.

The show has been held at the Salt Palace, which has 510,600 sq. ft. of space, since 1996.

Some of the other possible venues listed on the Collective Voice site include the Colorado Convention Center, with 584, 000 sq. ft. of space; Sands Expo & Convention Center in Las Vegas, with 655,600 sq. ft. of upper hall space and 380,000 sq. ft. of lower hall space; Las Vegas Convention Center, with 1,032,135 sq. ft.; Mandalay Bay Convention Center, with 936,306 sq. ft.; Anaheim Convention Center, with 813,607 sq. ft.; and the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, with 987,840 sq. ft.

"We've done surveys of the OR audience for years, and have even posted the results on our Web site for the whole industry to see," said Kenji Haroutunian, vice president at Nielsen Expositions and Outdoor Retailer show director, when the Collective Voice Web site was released.

He added, "Though the surveys are extremely helpful, the Collective Voice project adds an important new element to the process by giving every industry stakeholder a voice. This way, a dialog can develop amongst industry leaders and a thoughtful, inclusive and open process can drive the resulting decisions that will determine the future success of the OR shows."

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