As the valley continues to debate the success or failure of a new airport at a more remote location, there's just one thing that's certain. Whether it's by plane or automobile, visitors need to want to come here—and will—if the Sun Valley area offers events they're interested in and makes sure visitors know about it.
For example, this weekend short-term occupancy rates in the Sun Valley-Ketchum area are forecast to be in the low 70 percent range—about the same as last year.
That's good news in a bad economy.
It's happening for two reasons: broadly attractive events and marketing.
The area is lucky that Sun Valley Resort is booking major performers through the summer into the 1,500-seat Sun Valley Pavilion. The Sun Valley Center for the Arts is also continuing its concert series. A couple of folk festivals and some new concerts in Elkhorn will round out the summer.
This weekend alone, visitors can attend a pavilion concert by Nashville star Sara Evans, a Latin-rhythm concert by singer Alex Cuba in Hailey, the Bigwood Folk Festival in Bellevue, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning play in Ketchum. Or, if it's athletics they want, visitors can participate in the Redfish Triathlon.
The list of activities is robust, and it's hit a critical mass drawing people here.
Sun Valley Resort, the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau and this newspaper have worked hard to get the word out about what's happening here all summer long.
Funds for marketing are always in short supply, but it's critical to see that they grow—not shrink. Because as marketing goes, so goes the local economy.