Washington County Convention and Tourism launches new name – Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office
Kevin Lewis, director of the Washington County Convention & Tourism Office, announced this morning that the organization is rebranding itself as Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office to better represent the diverse offerings found throughout the county. More than 100 community stakeholders and tourism representatives attended the brand launch event today in St. George.
“We embarked on an extensive process to get where we are today,” said Lewis. “For several decades, the county tourism office has successfully anchored its brand around our largest community. In recent years, we heard from our partners that there was a need for greater representation throughout the county. As other communities have grown, we began searching for a brand that represented the bigger picture – something that would celebrate all that we stand for, something that would resonate with visitors in our core markets, and something that every community could embrace.”
In early 2019, the Tourism Office conducted a brand audit to evaluate visitor perceptions and name recognition. At the same time, it conducted a strategic audit to analyze the type of visitors that are coming and their understanding of the tourism opportunities available.
Simple research verified that the Washington County name was far too common and not a good option for a destination brand. Most people outside of the area do not connect the area’s greatest tourism assets with the county name and there are far too many Washington Counties in the country to create any unique name recognition.
Deeper marketing research indicated something very powerful. With the fourth most visited National Park in the country, the county is sitting on a gold mine.
“Incorporating the word Zion into our brand gives us the opportunity to leverage the name recognition of the National Park while telling the greater county-wide tourism story,” said Lewis. “The name Greater Zion allows us to benefit from the recognition of Zion while not making our value dependent on the park. The new brand identity allows us to unify our messaging, look, and feel, in a consistent way that embraces all of the tourism entities we represent.”
A key objective of the new brand is to spread visitations to areas beyond Zion National Park and St. George. With more than 2,400 square miles of terrain, there is an extensive list of places throughout Washington County where guests can stay and recreate.
“Tourism is one of the greatest economic drivers in Washington County,” said Washington County Commissioner Dean Cox. “It’s not about bringing more tourists to the destination; it’s about attracting high-quality visitors who stay longer, experience more, and contribute to what the county has to offer. Greater Zion offers such a diverse tourism product. We want to leverage and expand on the international recognition of Zion to better represent all tourism offerings in the county. We set out to create a brand that we can all be proud of and one that rings true to who we are and what we value.”
The purpose of the Greater Zion Convention & Tourism Office is to maximize the revenue generated by tourists as well as provide a rewarding future for residents and visitors. With out of state destination visitors spending six times more while visiting the area, the goal of the new brand is to align county-wide efforts to attract tourists who stay longer and spend more.
Greater Zion includes St. George, Springdale, Hurricane, Washington, Ivins and several towns in between. Not only does the destination include Zion National Park, but also four states parks and a multitude of year-round offerings serviced by local outfitters, tour companies, rental shops and more. There’s a burgeoning mountain biking scene, some of the best off highway vehicle riding in the country, scenic and challenging play at 12 top-rated golf courses and world-class performances at Tuacahn Center for the Arts, to name just a few key attractions. Greater Zion also is home to the 2021 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships and has positioned itself as a world-class destination for sporting events, conferences and meetings.
“As we tell the Greater Zion story, we feel that we can unite the tourism related entities throughout the county in a way that will attract the right kind of visitors,” said Lewis. “We are seeking visitors who immerse themselves in all that the area has to offer rather than just checking off an item on their bucket list; those who contribute to sustaining the natural wonders here rather than just consuming them; those who legitimately enrich our economy by staying longer, spending more and perhaps investing in the opportunity. With the Greater Zion focus, we aim to responsibly grow the tourism market across all sectors of our county in a way that creates a superior experience for our visitors and the people in our communities.”
The brand launch is the first in several steps to better market the area to tourism visitors. A new website GreaterZion.com recently launched to support the new brand. Starting today new social media, search and local marketing efforts will commence. A new campaign rolls out in destination markets starting July 1. Greater Zion also will be launching several new tools to tourism partners such as a monthly newsletter, digital assets and quarterly education sessions where businesses can learn how to better leverage tourism resources.
Tourism plays a vital role in Washington County, as a big driver for local economies, bringing millions in economic impact to the area and relieving each household of $1,375 in taxes annually. The tourism office is funded by all visitors who stay in hotels, vacation rentals, AirBnB, etc. through a Transient Room Tax (TRT) of 4.25 percent, which goes to the county for tourism marketing and infrastructure.
For more information on Greater Zion, please visit GreaterZion.com.