The Greater Zion area and its red sandstone cliffs and canyons draw millions to Utah’s southwest corner each year. But after visitors arrive, they soon realize that the 232 square miles of Zion National Park is just a small slice of the 2,400-square-mile encompassing region.
“We cover such a wide area,” says Jacqueline Grena, meeting and sales manager for the Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office. “Forty-five minutes one way there’s Zion; 45 minutes another are sand dunes; 45 minutes in another are pine trees and mountains.”
Greater Zion is a Planner’s Paradise
Grena is based in St. George, a town of 87,000 where most meetings convene. Four hotels have significant meeting space, but larger meetings often land at the Dixie Convention Center, with 100,000 square feet of meeting space. The Dixie Convention Center is also surrounded by four adjacent flagship hotels who are all under the same ownership.
Downtown is a five-minute drive or a nice walk along paths that wind through St. George. The revitalized area with nightlife and live entertainment has five bars including one at the luxury Marriott Advenire hotel. Local restaurants and shops are anchored by a historic town square for events like movie nights. A new visitor center with many interactive elements opens in October.
Outdoor activities lead meeting attendees to extend their stay. It is also easy to work those activities into a convention schedule. Take golfing. Thirteen courses ring the city. “Wherever you stay, it’s 10 minutes to a golf course,” says Grena. Groups can rent ATVs and zip up and down sand dunes nearby. Iconic hikes at Zion National Park are another option. And, Zion isn’t the region’s only park.
“We have four state parks,” says Grena. All have different landscapes, and one not to be missed is Snow Canyon State Park, 20 minutes from the convention center. “We joke that if Utah didn’t already have five national parks, Snow Canyon would be a national park,” Grena says. “It’s the one thing we tell people to make sure they see.” Ebikes for rent at the park entrance make touring it a breeze; picnic areas are popular for catered lunches.
More to Love
For a different way to enjoy the outdoors and red rocks, the Tuacahn Amphitheater’s Broadway series runs from May to late October. Staff there help plan preshow group dinners.
Although summer is a busy time at the national park, it’s quieter in St. George and a good time for meeting business. To encourage summer business, the Greater Zion CTO offers an incentive for meetings held June 1-August 31. Based on room nights and meeting pattern, it can mean as much as $5,000 paid toward the group’s bill at a local meeting venue. (The same offer applies to meetings held January 1-31 in Springdale, UT.)
No matter the season, the region will likely be a delightful surprise. “People know us because of Zion,” says Grena “but there’s so much more to discover.”
For more information:
Greater Zion Convention and Tourism Office