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TEMPLE SQUARE VISITS DOUBLE IN A DECADE

SHARE TEMPLE SQUARE VISITS DOUBLE IN A DECADE

During the past 10 years, visitor attendance at Temple Square has climbed from more than 2 million a year to an estimated 4.8 million at the close of 1990.

Factors that have helped make Temple Square become one of the most well-known historical sites in the United States include helpful volunteer guides and missionaries, more streamlined tours, positive publicity, improved language accommodations, and simply "word of mouth," said Ralph O. Bradley, director of Temple Square."The purpose of Temple Square is to acquaint the world with Jesus Christ. We're trying to teach the people about Heavenly Father and His plan," said Pres. Bradley. "There's a special spirit on Temple Square. It's the Spirit of Christ.

"People come here and some will actually take their hats off," he continued. "There's a reverence. I've had people go out of the gates who say, `What is it I feel inside that I don't feel outside of the gates?'

"They go back home and tell about their experiences," he noted. "People have a good experience here. They share it with their friends, and their friends come here."

Much of this good will is the result of the warmth and courtesy of the volunteer tour guides, who until recently worked on Temple Square, and the full-time sister missionaries, Pres. Bradley said.

He recalled that the tour guides used to take some of the visitors home for dinner and described the missionaries as "friendly" and "wholesome."

Quig Nielsen, former director of public relations for Temple Square, said that one of the big attractions is the Tabernacle Choir. "People have heard the choir on radio or television, and when they come to Temple Square they want to see the `Music and the Spoken Word' broadcast on Sunday morning," he said.

The increased notability of Temple Square has taken years to develop. Brother Nielsen said when he became the public relations director in 1987, he felt Temple Square was the "best-kept secret in the Church."

He mailed invitations to visit Temple Square to all the motor coach companies in the United States and Canada, to travel agencies throughout the world and to travel writers.

He and his wife, LaVon, also attended the 1988 convention of the National Tour Association in Kansas City, Mo., and again in Charlotte, N.C., in the spring of 1989. "At those conventions, we had the opportunity to meet many people and invite them to come to Salt Lake City," he added.

Then in the fall of 1989, the NTA convention was held in Salt Lake City and was the largest in NTA's history.

"All those delegates to the convention were invited to visit Temple Square. The Tabernacle Choir put on a special program for them," he recalled. "They just loved it. All the convention delegates left Salt Lake City determined to return."

Brother Nielsen explained that another major factor that increased the attendance at Temple Square was publicity. "The more publicity that is received through magazines and newspapers around the country, the more interest people have in coming to Salt Lake City to visit Temple Square," he said.

One of the positive articles Brother Nielsen recalled was the May 1989 Tour and Travel News, which stated that Temple Square in 1988 moved ahead of the Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument as to the number of visitors per year.

Those who visit the monuments and historic buildings on Temple Square now enjoy more streamlined tours, he continued. He explained that over the years the best parts of the previous tours on Temple Square were combined for the current historical tour.

Pres. Bradley added that this tour includes a narration about the divinity of Christ at the Christus statue in the North Visitors' Center.

Sister DeAnn Kaina, a full-time missionary, said when she brings visitors to see the Christus, "They're spiritually in awe. The Christus enhances the spiritual sense of their expectations in life. To hear that Jesus Christ is in control helps them cope with unexpected events in life."

Pres. Bradley told the Church News that this narration is being prepared for Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Mandarin speaking tourists.

Brother Nielsen also noted that the number of motor coach tours visiting Temple Square rose from 754 in 1988 to an estimated 2,350 in 1990. In addition, the American Bus Association named "Christmas at Temple Square" among its Top 100 Events in North America for 1991. (See "Of Note," page 5.)

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(CHART)

Temple Square visitors - 1980-90

Million visitors

1980...2,250,526

1981...2,229,530

1982...2,246,888

1983...2,210,882

1984...2,294,991

1985...2,231,938

1986...2,599,441

1987...3,401,155

1988...4,162,440

1989...4,345,879

1990...4,838,478