- Identify potential areas for development as an outdoor recreation destination
- Create a stronger and more unified community-wide identity
Located in the San Luis Valley, outdoor recreation is central to Alamosa County’s economy, due to its location as the gateway to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
CRAFT Studio 101 Program Outcomes
A core group of five local tourism champions attended six in-person workshops. The primary focus of the engagement was Adventure Tourism and Cultural & Heritage Tourism.
The Colorado Tourism Office matched Alamosa County with Hilary Lewkowitz, a CRAFT Facilitator with more than two decades of experience in conservation, sustainable tourism, and communications to achieve the following outcomes.
The following occurred as a direct result of the program:
- The Facilitator delivered a comprehensive report to summarize the program and recommend next steps.
- Following the successful completion of CRAFT Studio 101, Alamosa County applied for and was awarded a CRAFT Studio 101 Implementation Grant of $10,000 to advance tourism-related goals, including creating an itinerary planner on alamosa.org to generate longer stays through the promotion of assets outside of the national park. Site users can now customize their experience by adding activities to an itinerary as they plan a vacation in Alamosa County—much like a shopper adds items to a cart on a consumer site—and plan multi-day itineraries to increase length of stay in the area.
The following changes happened after the program took place:
- Improved marketing and product development through the creation of an online itinerary builder to promote less-traveled destinations and share off-peak activities to encourage visitation during shoulder seasons
- Gained platform to feature local destinations in marketing products, including the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area & the San Luis Valley Museum, as well as the Great Sand Dunes' designation as an international Dark Sky preserve
- Provided community members with new tools and knowledge to engage around and implement tourism-related efforts. The CRAFT Studio 101 process highlighted the fact that community members were not aware of existing tourism marketing initiatives, which were primarily outward-facing and not seen by residents. As such, Visit Alamosa partnered with the City of Alamosa to include an insert in residents' utility bills highlighting information about tourism, contributing to increased community buy-in
- Provided the platform to connect new and existing community partners, including Adams State University
- Released a master plan to revitalize downtown Alamosa, with an emphasis on improving signage and wayfinding with the traveler at the forefront
- Increased tourism integration with local and regional planning efforts through hospitality trainings for Colorado Welcome Center and Alamosa Convention & Visitors Bureau staff and promotion of Leave No Trace ethics. The local newspaper now gives the Alamosa Convention & Visitors Bureau more exposure, the City and county are now evaluating how decisions will impact tourism, and the City Council now acknowledges Alamosa as a tourism destination
- Hosted zero-waste events to educate the community on sustainability efforts, contributing to visitor readiness. This included investing in a Hydration Station to help events divert single-use plastic water bottles from landfills. The Hydration Station was used at 23 events during the summer of 2019
- Engaged eight partners in collaborating on local tourism efforts, including new partners SLV Health and Jade Communications
- Gained recognition from the Core Group of the importance of a wayfinding system as a piece of the City's new master plan. Going forward, new wayfinding signs will revitalize the Rio Trial with the intention of directing more people to the trails
- Catalyzed a commitment between the Alamosa Convention & Visitors Bureau and the City to splitting the costs of the new wayfinding system, pointing to community buy-in and indicating that existing funds are being used in more collaborative ways
“Residents and business owners, prior to CRAFT Studio 101, were on the fence as to the direction the community was heading. A great example is a downtown business owner that was on the fence about purchasing a building to create a bed and breakfast and invest in his existing brewery and coffee shop. After participating in CRAFT Studio 101 and seeing the Downtown Master Plan, he saw enough energy and momentum and committed to creating a bed and breakfast.” — Heather Brooks, City Manager, City of Alamosa
Get inspired to visit Alamosa County by exploring Colorado.com:
Uncovering History of the Mystic San Luis Valley
Steam, Sand, Spaceships, & Hot Springs in Alamosa, Pagosa Springs, & Beyond
4 Days to Explore the Historic San Luis Valley
A Southern Colo-Road Trip With Blogger HeidiTown: Pueblo, San Luis Valley, & Salida
About CRAFT Studio 101
CRAFT Studio 101 supports destinations that are in the early stages of the place lifecycle by providing tourism education and training to integrate tourism into economic development strategies. Participants receive $10,000 of implementation funding upon completion.