Will Utah feel an economic impact when the Outdoor Retailers Show leaves?

Will Utah take an economic hit now that the Outdoor Retailers Show is leaving the state? There’s no consensus among our “Political Insiders.”

The twice-a-year show brought 40,000 visitors and $45 million of economic impact to the state every year.

The Republicans on our panel say there will be very little economic impact or the state won’t notice they’re gone at all.

The Democrats who responded said the show’s exodus would have a high impact, while our readers said it would have a high or moderate impact on the state’s economy.


Selected anonymous comments:

High impact short-term, low impact long-term.

I only say low impact because it will be zero impact after 12-18 months. They’ve wanted out of Utah for a long time.

Utah’s economy is massive compared to this show. There is almost no measurable impact. It is a small fraction of a tenth of one percent. It is a big political statement that values hugging trees over a balanced use of the land and jobs.

Of course, it will–not only with the loss of the large convention(s) but more the escalating effect that all of this may well have on our tourist industry.

I’ve never been to the show nor do I know anyone who has. There any be some minor effects in the area but not enough to make it break any business in the area.

The biggest impact will be in the smaller stores and retailers that rely on this show for a significant amount of their annual revenue. It brings in the largest amount of visitors in two chunks. Unfortunately, the negative environmental decisions of the state will have the greatest impact on Salt Lake City, one of the very few areas that vehemently opposes the state’s positions.

Of course, it will have an impact! Worse, the impact will be ongoing and be increasing as people in other states get the message that Utah does not care very much for its incredible outdoor resources. This whole thing is a major misstep by the Governor and the rural counties whose bluff was called by the Outdoor Retailers.

Stupidest decision ever made by our governor and Republican elected officials.

Hey, Outdoor Retailers: How’s about you DO let the door hit you on the way out? Good riddance to a bunch of folks who are not interested in a symbiotic relationship and have tried to hold our state hostage for years. We’re better off without you threatening to leave every few months. I feel bad for the local small businesses who will see the impact. Beyond that: Get bent.

Much of the loss will be hard to calculate. The $40+million of direct economic impact is a small loss, but the intangible losses of not having those retailers coming to Utah to be exposed to the recreational opportunities in Utah are difficult to quantify but real & significant.

I am so glad they are leaving. I wish they would take SUWA with them.

As much as anything, it’s bad PR. Image is everything in marketing. You would think business leaders, like those in our legislature, would know and value that.

The detrimental effects of this situation are completely underestimated by the governor’s office — of course; they’re the idiots who caused it, so they don’t want the public to figure out the actual damage. Their anti-economic growth actions are mind boggling.

Someone else will fill that niche rather quickly, and maybe this group will be less politically demanding. Retailers aren’t elected to represent me; the legislature and Governor are.

The impact will be differential; a small # of companies may see a substantial if temporary impact. But Utah’s economy is more than capable of absorbing any changes in the retail and hospitality industries associated with the Outdoor Retailers leaving the state.

Utah will replace OR with multi-level marketing campaigns that do nothing to help the local economy. Almost as much as energy is doing for us currently. Ever wonder why there is so much crap abandoned in the Utah desert? Development that was supposed to change the world but never did, and never will. Grassroots companies that make a living off consumers that love the outdoors? Well, that’s something you can build off and have tomorrow.

A few large outdoor retailers tried to hold Governor Herbert hostage. Anyone who has negotiated with Governor Herbert knows he’s honest and fair. Let them go and let’s provide a compelling alternative for the hundreds of smaller outdoor retailers who still want to come to Utah.

The economy produces over $150 billion dollars of income in Utah every year. Even if the direct and secondary effects of the show in Utah add up to $50 million (a high estimate), the effects are so small as to be meaningless. Our politicians would be wise to heavily discount the importance of the “economic development” community’s statistics. Cheerleading incremental development, advertising, and business relocation are necessary activities. But they barely register as economic impacts in the state as a whole. Often for activity that would happen regardless. The efforts should be applauded, but given very little money. Don’t take the hype on the up or downside too seriously. Find a real economist.

If one convention has that much impact on the overall economy, we are in a lot more trouble than the politicians admit.

State leaders can’t say for sure what the impact will be. They well know that a state’s reputation in certain industries can open and close doors. When they picked private development over public lands, they closed doors in the tourism and outdoors industry. We’ll see them better over time.

I think it will affect not only the economics and business surrounding Outdoor Retailers, but also be TERRIBLE PR for general tourism in Utah. I hope Governor Herbert will continue negotiations and try to keep them in Utah.

It’s not just the show. Manufacturers and retailers will likely influence their customers to vote with their dollars as well. Also, outdoor industry companies that were considering moving here will reconsider based on the optics of their decision as well as their ability to attract top-notch employees.

The show itself was a scant 0.03% of state GDP and received far more public assistance for a convention center and hotel upgrades than it generated in tax dollars. Good riddance to the whiny moochers.

If only we could get the Sundance Film Festival to go with them. I stand in solidarity with Patagonia. I weep that our elected officials have refused to listen to the majority of their constituents, and find it awfully ironic they accuse Obama of not listening to them.

Some Utah businesses will suffer, but the overall impact from this single event will be minimal. However, this issue adds to a number of other self-inflicted political issues that impact our economy. Utah’s political leaders need to better understand how they can facilitate economic growth, not stifle it.

Outdoor Retailers will be replaced by other conventions. They may not be as big, but eventually, the impact will be minimalized. The OR show has been threatening to leave for a long time, and the show’s importance for retailers has been diminishing. The end result is that Utah will get along just fine without the show and won’t have to listen to Peter Metcalf and his whiny liberal friends anymore.

It is not just the boost we received twice a year when they were here, which was substantial, it was the fact that it brought people here that are in a position to talk favorably about our outdoor recreation to the people who buy their products and will visit here year round. Outdoor recreation is big business, and there is a lot of competition for those dollars. Having the the people in a position to influence public opinion here twice a year made a huge difference in how Utah was perceived. That was more effective in bringing people to the state than millions of dollars of advertising could ever be. Losing that is what will hurt us the most in the long run.

I think OR leaving will impact the service sector the most. Lots of restaurants and hotels rely on these conventions to bring them into the black for the summer. Such a shame for the poorest among us.

My concern is how “thin-skinned” people and organizations are becoming. Both sides of the political spectrum are equally at fault. ORS was acting like one of my friends when I was a kid. When things were not going well as we played he would say: “If you’re not going to play by rules, I’m going to pick up my toys and go home.” He didn’t play with us very much. We didn’t miss him either.

I never noticed that they were here to begin with.

Let’s bring in an NRA convention.

How ironic. We’re lamenting the loss of the OR Show in the richest county in the state while ignoring the economic impact of locking up millions of acres of land in arguably the poorest county in the state. The proportionate loss to SLC is minuscule in comparison to the impact the monument designation will have in San Juan County. And don’t forget that the State subsidizes the OR Show to the tune of $2.4 million per year (to rent the tents, etc.). That’s an order of magnitude more than the State has ever invested in economic development in San Juan County. Patagonia and Black Diamond have never created a single job in that county, while they smugly ignore the fact that an economy based on catering to a handful of backpackers is utterly doomed to poverty. The fact that SLC has felt an economic hit because of public lands politics – though minor in comparison to what rural communities are bludgeoned with continually – is poetic justice!