SOAR represents Arizona’s NPS Units in China
October 23 - 28, 2016
During the last week of October, Sharlot Hart had the honor to travel with the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) to China. She represented all 22 NPS units in Arizona on this mission that focused on tourism promotion, with a strong emphasis on promoting the state’s natural and cultural destinations to foreign media outlets and trade partners. While the Chinese are quite familiar with highly visible parks such as the Grand Canyon, they may not realize all the opportunities available in that park to entice them to stay longer than the half day this market typically spends.
Sharlot spent two days in Shanghai and two in Beijing – most meetings took place in the hotels, and she was grateful for morning walks in the plentiful city parks in both cities! In each city Sharlot had outreach meetings with editors and section managers, along with the 3-person team AOT put together (including translator!). AOT and their Chinese partner, AVIA Reps also put together an educational event for each city where 40 Chinese nationals got to hear from AOT, the NPS, and the City of Williams.
Sharlot was privileged to directly connect with 25 Chinese media outlets and trade partners. Collectively, these outlets reach millions of Chinese nationals every year. Educating foreign travelers about the breadth and diversity of NPS sites in Arizona can help alleviate stress on the few, already well-known, and visited NPS sites. Educating about all 22 NPS sites in Arizona both enlarged the destination pool, as well as provided the Chinese with invaluable resources to trip planning. Outcomes also include improved awareness of the National Park Service broadly.
Visitation from China is growing fast, and the Chinese are excited to experience the diversity of Arizona’s NPS units. Introducing all 22 of Arizona’s NPS sites will help spread crowds throughout our parks. Planning now for the needs of the Chinese visitor, especially creating information and maps in Chinese characters, will stand the NPS well to fulfill our missions of both protecting parks, and ensuring the enjoyment them.