Outdoor Retailer show could bring $110 million to Denver, director says

9NEWS journalist Kelly Jensen was in Salt Lake City scoping out the Outdoor Retailer Show before it comes to Denver.

SALT LAKE CITY - After spending nearly twenty years in Salt Lake City, a national outdoor trade show will have a new home come 2018. 

The show's director, Marisa Nicholson, says it's a nostalgic, yet bittersweet year to be in SLC. 

"It's bittersweet leaving Salt Lake City. The memories we've made here," she said "I'm really excited about the move to Denver. I think there is opportunity in change. The industry really seems to be embracing the idea of relocating and I think there's a lot of energy here at the show. People are invigorated and excited for this being our last show in Salt Lake City and for the move to Denver."

While certainly not everyone agrees with the move from Utah to Colorado, the decision was based on several factors. Yes, politics was one of them. 

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, which partners with the show, Utah's state government has not shown enough support for public lands, a topic paramount to this industry. 

The show's move to Colorado - largely as a result of this decision - shows the clout a $800+ billion annual revenue industry has. 

"I think from a political standpoint, our industry has really been able to galvanize and become much stronger on the capitol. And to really help both sides of the party to understand the importance of the outdoor recreation industry not only to the economy but to other industries as well," Nicholson said Thursday. 

The show organizers estimate when it comes to Denver's Convention Center next year - combined with the snow sports show - it will bring more than $110 million of revenue to the Mile High City.

Data from the Outdoor Industry Alliance, a partner of the Outdoor Retailer show, estimates more than seven million jobs are related to the outdoor industry across America.

Nicholson says the industry attendees were asking for more support - and decided Colorado's laws were more favorable to the industry and protecting public lands than Utah's. Thus, the decision was made to move. 

Some retailers think moving the show was the easy way out. Others are excited for the new opportunity. 

"We ultimately decided we needed to be listening to what the industry wanted. And we were hearing very clearly there was a desire for the show to be moved. Ultimately, it's a business decision but it's to meet the needs of the industry," she said. 

The OIA estimates when the show comes to Denver, it will bring more than $110 million in revenue for the city. 

Nicholson has been with the show for 14 years. The show has called Salt Lake City home for nearly 20. 

She says Denver is a logical place not only because of the state's view on public lands, but also because of its facilities, hotels, and ease of access for show attendees which come from across the state. 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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