CRAFT Case Study: Clear Creek County Tourism Board, Rockies Playground

The Clear Creek County Tourism Board (CCCTB), primarily located in the Rockies Playground travel region, was awarded a Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) Recovery Mentor program by the Colorado Tourism Office in fall 2020 to advance recovery efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The objective of this CRAFT Recovery Mentor program was to support the CCCTB market to visitors by developing new itineraries that are aligned with current industry trends and can be adapted for different promotional opportunities throughout the year. 

CRAFT Recovery Mentor Program Results

CCCTB was paired with Heidi Pankow, a CRAFT Mentor with over 30 years experience in tourism marketing, rural and collaborative destination development, communication, and public relations, to achieve the following outcomes: 

  • Development of a Clear Creek County Winter Itinerary that invites visitors to experience the diversity of non-ski activities to do in Clear Creek County each winter.
  • Development of a Clear Creek County Spring Itinerary that targets families from the front range of Colorado to visit Clear Creek County.
  • Development of a Clear Creek County Fall Itinerary that targets “empty nester” travelers and highlights a variety of ways to enjoy the fall colors throughout Clear Creek County. 
  • Development of a Clear Creek County Hot Springs year-round Itinerary that invites visitors to discover the historic and unique Indian Hot Springs in Idaho Springs.  
  • Development of a Clear Creek County History three-season Itinerary that invites visitors to experience the rich mining history of Clear Creek County, including mine tours, train rides, history walks.
  • Delivery of peer-to-peer training, covering topics such as board and governmental agency relations, marketing strategies, and relationships with local businesses and stakeholders.

“Our CRAFT Recovery mentorship with Heidi Pankow provided the opportunity to create five new itineraries for Clear Creek County. From highlighting seasons to activities, restaurants, and lodging Heidi worked hand in hand with our Tourism Bureau to ensure the new itineraries were complete, creative, and concise. We look forward to incorporating the new itineraries in our marketing strategy as they encourage unique visitation to the area.” -Cassandra Patton, Director, Clear Creek County Tourism Bureau


About CRAFT Recovery Mentor

The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) developed the Colorado Rural Academy For Tourism (CRAFT) to support communities across the state integrate tourism into their economic development strategies and develop new visitor experiences aimed at attracting increased traveler spending.  

The CRAFT Recovery Mentor program provides up to 50 hours of mentoring for Colorado tourism partners to advance one or more tourism strategies that bolsters their response to a recent crisis or natural disaster.


Cassandra Patton, Director
Clear Creek County Tourism Bureau