Local businesses working with event organizers to prepare for 100,000 guests
Published in the June 29 – July 12, 2016 issue of Gilroy Life
By Marty Cheek and Nicholas Preciado
South Valley business and community leaders have been preparing for nearly a year for the 100,000 or more spectators expected at the 71st U.S. Women’s Open at San Martin’s CordeValle Golf Resort. With extensive Fox Sports media coverage from July 4 to 10, Gilroy and Morgan Hill might benefit economically and through community-building from this high-profile sports event which could broaden both cities’ image nationally and even globally.
“I am excited about the opportunities the U.S. Women’s Open presents to the South Valley,” said Jane Howard, executive director of the Gilroy Welcome Center. “The location of this area between Silicon Valley and the Monterey Peninsula will showcase this destination to potential visitors looking for outdoor activities including golf, hiking and biking.”
Various local wineries — including Guglielmo, Jason-Stephens and Fortino — were selected as the official vintners for the event, promoting the Santa Clara Valley Wine Trail to television viewers around the world, she said. This golf event can impact the region economically by stimulating dining, shopping and lodging with the increased tourism for the week of the U.S. Open. Many businesses have special promotions geared toward the championship, she said.
“In Gilroy, The Milias Restaurant is partnering with one of the participating wineries to encourage dining at their restaurant and The Hilton Garden Inn is offering a special golf-themed gift in the welcome bags for their overnight guests during the event,” she said.
Since November, the Gilroy Welcome Center has been working in collaboration with the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce and Gilroy Economic Development Corporation in serving as the Community Engagement Committee representing the city of Gilroy to promote the U.S. Women’s Open, Howard said. All three organizations have sent email blasts to community members beginning in early 2016 with messages promoting the championship game. The Gilroy Welcome Center assisted with the placement of the U.S. Women’s Open signage banner across Monterey Road in downtown Gilroy.
“We have also provided stories featuring local Gilroy icons and B-roll (videorecordings of local sites) from the Gilroy Welcome Center media library to Fox Sports, which is the network televising the event,” she said. “In addition, we’ve contributed our 2016 Spice Visitor Guides and Gilroy Garlic Festival brochures to be included in the more than 1,000 volunteer welcome bags.”
Morgan Hill’s Tourism Alliance founder John McKay worked with the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce together with the U.S. Open’s event organizers for nearly a year to build up the local excitement about the championship where 156 golfers will compete.
“We need to make sure the entire community is aware that we will have about 4,000 to 5,000 event-associated people staying in the nearby surrounding area in addition to the