Entrepreneurial-driven Southern Utah Tourism Summit to descend on Kanab in April; registration open

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Southern Utah was built on the entrepreneurial spirit. For the pioneers to survive and tame this harsh landscape, it meant taking risks, hard work, determination and most important, collaboration.

Event organizers and guest speakers gather onstage at the conclusion of the second annual Southern Utah Tourism Summit, Cedar City, Utah, March 29, 2019 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

That same drive is alive and well today and serves as the focus of the third annual Southern Utah Tourism Summit set to descend April 2-3 in Kanab.

Cody Adent, one of the organizers for the event, said the summit is inspired by that same entrepreneurial spirit. He told St. George News that this year, participants have an extraordinary chance to have some real takeaways that are specific to their business and that will be more localized than they were last year.

The annual tourism summit’s goal is to give Southern Utahns an opportunity to “collaborate and build bridges of connectivity within our region” as well as with the Utah Office of Tourism and the Utah Tourism Industry Association. The event features several keynote speakers and breakout sessions on topics designed to inspire people within the local travel industry to create and collaborate.

Adent said event organizers received feedback from attendees at last year’s second annual summit in Cedar City that mentioned a desire for more specific information to bring back to their businesses in Iron, Kane, Washington and Garfield counties. As a result, this year they tried their best to facilitate and restructure the six breakout sessions into a series of highly informative panels.

“We’ve got a Social Media Panel where we have someone with 6,000 followers, someone with 15,000 followers,” Adent said, adding it will also have presenters on the high side of the spectrum – with 50,000 and 100,000 followers. “Then we have a Hospitality Panel with different hospitality professionals from four different counties.”

The Content Panel will give attendees the opportunity to draw from the experiences of writer Arika Bauer, photographer Barry Glazier, cinematographer Jake Clayson and storteller Cody Draper, and Adent said the Challenges and Opportunities for Small Businesses Panel will feature government employees from different facets of county and state tourism offering information on what’s available to everyone from their own regions.

Speed painter Tim Decker creates a likeness of John Lennon during the second annual Southern Utah Tourism Summit, Cedar City, Utah, March 29, 2019 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

The breakout sessions will also have a Brand Panel and feature unique collaboration sessions: “Leveraging your County Tourism Office & Utah Office of Tourism,” “One Quick Question” and  “Tools to Create a Tourism Business.”

For a complete list of sessions, click here.

“If you are interested in tourism and you want a business but don’t have one yet, these guys will be able to give you all the answers you need to get started,” Adent said. “We’ve got a CPA in there; we’ve got someone from CEBA, which is the grant system; we have the director of the San Juan County Tourism Office. … So really, everyone you would need to help get that business going.”

In addition, the Southern Utah Tourism Summit will feature the following guest presenters:

  • Camille Taylor – Kane County updates.
  • Lt. Governor Spencer Cox.
  • Love Communications.
  • Julie Castle – CEO of Best Friends.
  • Dr. Alan Fyall – Destination Development.
  • Matthew Focht – Google, Truly 360.
  • Zion Forever Project.

Ultimately, the summit is about creating camaraderie and a place for conversation, Adent said, and to that end, event organizers recommend that attendees come out to the social networking event Thursday night from 6-8 p.m. at the new Kanab Convention Center.

Adent said that the networking event, which is included with the cost of registration, was one of the elements people enjoyed most last year.

It’s an awesome way for everyone to get to know each other more personally after the serious business of the day at the conference.”

Adent said the networking event will include drinks, food, dancing and a mechanical bull – “all kinds of fun stuff to allow people the opportunity to just mingle in a free atmosphere and build on the relationships that they already have — or create new ones.”

Additionally, Adent said they always try to include a bit of fun and a creative activity at the summit, and with this year’s event being set in Kanab, — known for being “magically unspoiled” with a tagline of “Abra Kanabra” — magician Thomas Poole will be kicking off the fun on the second day of the summit with a one-hour performance.

Registration for the Southern Utah Tourism Summit can be completed online. This year, $5 of each registration will be donated directly to the Zion Forever Project, which the summit is proud to once again support. Participants will also have the option to make an additional donation to the nonprofit foundation.

As a special bonus, attendees living in Iron, Washington, Kane and Garfield counties will be eligible to be reimbursed 40% of the ticket price from corporate sponsor Custom Fit.

For those planning on traveling to this year’s summit, Adent advised everyone to take advantage of the discounted room rate from Kanab’s Hampton Inn. He said it is really great how the hotel stepped up to help, and he suggested reserving a spot soon, as there are a limited number of rooms available.

For more information,visit the “We are So Utah” website or email [email protected]. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by ANDREW PINCKNEY, St. George News.

•  S P O N S O R E D  C O N T E N T •

Event details

  • What: Southern Utah Tourism Summit.
  • When:
    • Thursday, April 2 – 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Social networking event from 6-8 p.m.
    • Friday, April 3 – 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. 
  • Where: Kanab Convention Center, 20 N. 100 East, Kanab.
  • Cost: $75
  • Registration: Website.
  • Southern Utah Tourism Summit: Website | Facebook | Instagram

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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