Park City Chamber of Commerce | Convention & Visitors Bureau Joins the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) as a member

Park City Chamber of Commerce | Convention & Visitors Bureau has joined the GSTC after recently concluding its draft of Utah’s first community-based Sustainable Tourism Plan. The plan will be presented to Park City and Summit County Councils for endorsement in fall 2022.

Park City is one of the premier ski destinations in the U.S. and home to two world-class ski destinations, Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain Resort, the nation’s largest ski resort. Park City hosts more than three million visitors annually for skiing and other winter sports, as well as summer activities such as hiking, mountain biking and art and music festivals. It is well-known for hosting the world-renowned Sundance Film Festival and as a venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics. It is presently a key player in Utah’s attempts to land the 2030 or 2034 Winter games.

“Our scenic beauty and recreational amenities, as well as our proximity to Salt Lake City and its expanded international airport, mean tourism-related pressures, such as traffic and crowded venues, have put pressure on our lifestyle and environment,” said Jennifer Wesselhoff, President and CEO of the Park City Chamber & Visitors Bureau. “After inviting GSTC to perform an assessment last year, we launched a community-wide project to develop a Sustainable Tourism Plan. Today, we are thrilled to join GSTC as we move forward with adoption and implementation, a logical and powerful next step in which we are confident will benefit Park City and Summit County.”

Park City Chamber & Visitors Bureau is a community leader in Summit County, Utah, with a mission to act as a global model of community stewardship and authentic experiences. “We serve our mountain community, inspire sustainable travel, drive equitable economic prosperity, and catalyze positive change,” Wesselhoff said.

Park City was founded as a silver mining town in 1884 and faded after mining collapsed before reinventing itself as a ski town and year-round destination beginning in the 1960s.

Park City Chamber & Visitors Bureau commissioned a GSTC Destination Assessment in 2021, which analyzed Summit County’s current state of sustainable tourism development and management. Using the GSTC Destination Criteria, the Destination Assessment identified improvements in the sustainability of the Park City tourism sector. As a next step, a comprehensive survey of Park City residents, business owners, workers and visitors collected public sentiment on tourism. Over 2,600 survey responses, in addition to focus groups, public meetings and interviews with local leaders, produced a Park City and Summit County Situation Assessment.

Park City Chamber & Visitors Bureau formed a Destination Stewardship Council to develop the Sustainable Tourism Plan. The 22-member volunteer Council represents a broad spectrum of tourism perspectives, including government representatives, large and small local businesses, nonprofits and residents at large. During the first half of 2022, the Council used the GSTC Destination Assessment and Situation Assessment to create a sustainable tourism vision and action plan.

Park City takes pride in being an eco-friendly destination. It is the first mountain town in North America to operate a fleet of zero-emission buses, reducing its carbon footprint by more than 70,000 tons since 2005. The Park City government aims to be net-zero carbon and run on 100% renewable electricity for city operations by 2022, and transition the entire community to net-zero carbon by 2030. In addition to promoting car-free travel and energy efficiency, Park City educates visitors on responsible and respectful outdoor recreation including the principles of Leave No Trace, safe wildlife encounters and proper handling of waste.

GSTC Welcomes Park City

“We appreciate the steps Park City is taking toward more sustainable forms of their visitor economy such as clean-energy buses, and are pleased to work with them to support continued improvement,” said Randy Durband, GSTC CEO.

GSTC encourages destinations pursuing sustainability practices in tourism to join as GSTC members. Apply the GSTC Destination Criteria and support local businesses to apply the GSTC Industry Criteria. Destinations can eventually aim to achieve certification by a GSTC-Accredited Certification Body as a sustainable tourist destination.