The Carson City Culture & Tourism Authority’s five-year rebranding campaign has paid off in more ways than one.
The authority took home the Nevada Division of Tourism’s Excellence in Tourism Award for the Reno-Tahoe Territory at last week’s Rural Roundup annual tourism conference in Tonopah.
“It is hard to deny, the numbers are what prove it,” said Kyle Horvath, marketing manager at the authority. “To be recognized by our peers feels good.”
In five years, room revenue has jumped 68 percent to $22 million last year while visitor spending hit $63 million for a total of $85 million.
Horvath attributes the success to community support and cooperation.
“Change isn’t easy, but we always had Carson City and the locals and business in mind. It’s been great working with everyone,” said Horvath. “It’s not us, it’s the community. We just get the pleasure of marketing all the cool things the community does.”
The authority, though, did land the Epic Rides Carson City Off-Road bike race, an event that has helped promote Carson City as an outdoor recreation destination.
“The Carson City Culture & Tourism Authority, formerly the Carson City Visitors Bureau, has successfully rebranded Carson City to include not just history, but year-round outdoor recreation, arts and culture, farm-to-fork dining, and lively special events, including the Epic Rides Carson City Off-Road,” said Sue Barton, head of Reno-Tahoe Territory and director of the South Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority presenting the award at the VolunTourism Awards Dinner on April 12. “Under the leadership of Joel Dunn and his team, including Chris Kipp, Kyle Horvath, and James Salanoa, they transformed the traditional thinking of Carson City from a state capital with museums to a contemporary state capital with a beautifully remodeled yet still historic downtown, which celebrates arts, culture, events and the great outdoors.”
Even before Epic Rides, Carson City was getting recognized for its trail system. Google, for example, asked the city to be one the first areas to take part in its Google Trekker, a mapping of trails and hikes throughout the country. In 2015, the authority hiked and mapped 10 trails totaling about 100 miles, including Marlette Lake and Ash to Kings Canyon trails. The videos with a 360-degree views are available online at visitcarsoncity.org.
Nevada Division of Tourism presented nine Excellence in Tourism Awards, including six to individuals and organizations in each of the state’s territories.