Prevue asked Mark Scheller, VP of Sales for Casino del Sol, for his thoughts about cultural and creative programs and events.
Q: How does Tucson incorporate local, authentic culture into group events?
A: Tucson highlights itself as the real Arizona, by way of our natural Indian cultures and Hispanic influences. The local food, artistry and festivals offer much in the form of true regional entertainment and experiences.
Q: What are some unique cultural group venues in and around Tucson?
A: Venues include spectacular museums, state parks, Father Kino Missions and the earliest, most western confrontations of the Civil War. Madera Canyon, San Xavier Mission, Tumacacori Mission and the various Tribal communities all are steeped in rich tradition.
Q: What festivals/cultural events can planners incorporate into their programs?
A: Street fairs, on-site concerts and events, and locally created events are all cultural, beyond ethnic bounds. There’s a lot to be said for the “Harley” culture and the “Street Rod” culture, as well as local festivals and celebrations. Here on-site we try to make every customer from outside of the region aware of what is happening locally and encourage participation.
The International Mariachi Festival and Tamale Cook Off feature young talent, excitement and historical references with cuisine and music for thousands of attendees.
Q: Is there a growing demand for cultural arts-themed programs?
A: Virtually all groups and organizations are pleased to be notified of local events, and for the most part, attendees now are savvy to the point of Googling each destination to see what’s happening while they are in town.
It’s apparent that organizations also want to add substance to events that provide some type of cultural value. That seems to be important to more and more groups as a takeaway.
Q: What are some restaurants/cuisine reflective of the destination’s culture?
A: Tucson is blessed with many family-owned and operated dining opportunities. In fact, the Tucson Originals organization is made up of privately owned and operated restaurants, which runs the gambit of dining options for groups of all types and sizes. They especially promise authentic ethnic recipes and family pride.
Q: How are planners using technology during programs in a creative way?
A: I think you need to look at it from the point of view
that most organizations are not tech savvy, but they do rely on today’s technology to stay competitive in the marketplace. Online group reservations and meeting content, and high-performance internet connections—they all provide a much more hands off collection of data for them, which also cuts down on shipping costs and materials. Multimedia is so very important.