Roaring Fork Valley Destination Alliance was approved to participate in the Reimagine Destinations Program by the Colorado Tourism Office in July 2022. Program objectives included:
- continue to convene the Roaring Fork Valley Destination Alliance as a regional tourism network
- identify solutions for valleywide tourism industry barriers and opportunities
- establish a unified voice for tourism throughout the Roaring Fork Valley
- celebrate the results of the Restart Destinations Program and foster collaboration between local tourism stakeholders
Located in the Rockies Playground, the Roaring Fork Valley (RFV) stretches 40 miles from Aspen to Glenwood Springs alongside the Roaring Fork River and historic Rio Grande railway line. The RFV represents a diverse set of tourism communities and visitor attractions, from the world-renowned ski mountains of Aspen and Snowmass Village, to Colorado’s first-ever historic resort town of Glenwood Springs, to the more rural destinations of Basalt and Carbondale.
Roaring Fork Valley Destination Alliance (RFVDA) was established in 2021 with a vision to champion the RFV as a wonderful place to live, work, and play. RFVDA includes representatives from Tourism Council of Carbondale, Basalt Chamber of Commerce, Visit Glenwood Springs, Aspen Chamber Resort Association, and Snowmass Tourism. RFVDA aims to establish a unified voice for tourism that collaborates on priority projects across the valley such as encouraging responsible and respectful use, implementing crisis communications, developing tourism products, and championing the value of tourism.
RFVDA was paired with Bobby Chappell, a sustainable tourism consultant with experience in strategic planning, sustainability assessments, and destination development, to conduct a destination assessment, facilitate a full-day community visioning and action planning workshop, and provide 100 hours of consulting to RFVDA.
RFVDA convened three core team meetings to identify priority barriers and opportunities for advancing tourism, discuss the findings from the destination assessment, and guide workshop design.
Destination Assessment and Workshop Results
RFVDA supported the development of a destination assessment consisting of background research, a core team survey, and a series of stakeholder interviews. The findings from the assessment were compiled into a report that informed the design of the full-day workshop.
RFVDA convened ten stakeholders on March 1, 2023 for a community visioning and action planning workshop. Key agenda items included:
- overview of 2021 Economic Impact of Travel for the Roaring Fork Valley report
- group discussion on defining local quality of life attributes that are enhanced through projects that are funded by tourism tax revenue
- group discussion on partnership opportunities between RFVDA and RFOV
RFVDA engaged in a group activity to identify local quality of life attributes in the RFV, and to understand how tourism-related tax revenue is being invested into projects that enhance local quality of life. Results from these discussions will help inform talking points to champion the value of tourism and potential gaps in existing tourism investments that RFVDA could consider advocating for in the future.
As a result of the workshop discussions, participants aligned on key priorities and action items to inform the development of an action plan. Key priorities include:
- foster regional tourism planning and collaboration
- champion the value of tourism
- encourage responsible and respectful use
CRAFT Mentor Results
Following the workshop, 100 hours of consulting were provided to conduct the activities listed below. The purpose of this year’s CRAFT Mentor project was to implement valleywide strategies to encourage responsible and respectful use and champion the value of tourism.
Project objectives included:
- develop an organizational framework to capture RFVDA agreements that foster productive and collaborative group discussions, guide decision making, and maintain group alignment
- compile available economic impact data comparing2019 to 2021 and produce talking points on the increased value of tourism throughout the Roaring Fork Valley
- support partnership development between RFVDA and Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV) to foster new opportunities that encourage responsible and respectful use
RFVDA achieved the following results through the Reimagine Destinations Mentor project:
- organizational guidance framework that includes mission, vision, values, priorities, responsibilities, and past achievements
- economic impact data and talking points that details the positive impacts tourism has on local quality of life
- partnership development with RFOV that includes social media content, RFOV interview notes, and a draft partnership agreement
About Reimagine Destinations Program
The Reimagine Destinations Program supports Colorado tourism destinations to foster long-term industry resilience. Awarded destinations receive a destination assessment, a full-day workshop, 100 hours of consulting, and a $20,000 creative asset production shoot from the Colorado Tourism Office. This program was made possible by a CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.