Moffat County Tourism Association (MCTA), in partnership with the Craig Chamber of Commerce, in the Great West 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 assist MCTA and the Craig Chamber of Commerce to champion the value of tourism and outdoor recreation locally and build the case for continued investment in tourism management, outdoor recreation management, and enhanced visitor services. The work entailed identifying strategies to ensure that tourism and outdoor recreation continue to have a voice in the many economic development and land management conversations occurring in Moffat County, especially as the destination explores ways to diversify its economy and seeks to replace jobs and tax revenue as a result of impending power plant closures.
CRAFT Recovery Mentor Program Results
Moffat County Tourism Association was paired with Amy Cassidy, a CRAFT Mentor with over 30 years experience in strategic planning, marketing and communications in emerging and established destinations throughout Colorado, to achieve the following outcomes:
- Reconciliation of the MCTA 2021 marketing budget to account for the reductions that occured due to COVID-19 impacts on lodging tax collections.
- Identification of priority marketing strategies that considered changing travel restrictions within the COVID-19 dial, available budget and staff capacity.
- Identification of opportunities within the budget for MCTA and the Craig Chamber of Commerce to maximize available resources by collaborating on mutually beneficial projects and activities. Examples of this collaboration included sharing assets such as photography and videography, signage and displays at the Yampa Building Visitor Center, and exploring opportunities to combine efforts on the production of visitor and business guides.
- Production of communication strategies for building awareness of the value of tourism to increase local support for managing tourism and outdoor recreation among residents, tourism stakeholders, local government, land managers and other partners.
- Delivery of peer-to-peer training on building the case for funding tourism development, promotion and management for both MCTA and the Craig Chamber of Commerce.
- Delivery of recommendations for championing the value of tourism to build community understanding and support for leveraging tourism and outdoor recreation as an economic development tool. Specific recommendations included applying to represent tourism on local boards and committees, developing annual reports, and organizing familiarization (FAM) tours that build support for MCTA’s role in managing tourism and outdoor recreation as a vital economic sector.
“The CRAFT Mentor experience was incredibly important; we experienced timely advice that truly paid off for our programs. Amy Cassidy kept us on track and asked all of the right questions. We truly appreciate her help and guidance!” – Tom Kleinschnitz / Visit Moffat County Jennifer Holloway / Craig Chamber of Commerce
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.