Reimagine Destinations Success Story: Visit Ouray


Visit Ouray was approved to participate in the Reimagine Destinations Program by the Colorado Tourism Office in July 2022. Program objectives included: 

  • celebrate the results of the Restart Destinations Program and foster collaboration between Ouray tourism stakeholders
  • receive input from Ouray tourism stakeholders on the development of a sustainable tourism marketing and management plan 
  • identify strategies to build awareness of the value of tourism
  • inspire more responsible and respectful use of the destination

Located in Ouray County, Visit Ouray is often referred to as the “Outdoor Recreation Capital of Colorado” and leverages the more than 60 recreational activities that a resident or visitor can participate in from their doorstep. Visit Ouray is tasked with the development, promotion, and management of tourism for the City of Ouray and is funded through a portion of the 3.5% Lodging Occupation Tax collected within the city. A Tourism Advisory Committee, composed of representatives from the different segments of the business community, is responsible for providing input and recommendations to Visit Ouray. 

Visit Ouray was paired with Amy Cassidy, a CRAFT Workshop Facilitator with experience in tourism and outdoor recreation development, strategic planning, and marketing and communications, to develop a destination assessment, facilitate a full-day community visioning and action planning workshop, and provide 100 hours of consulting to Visit Ouray. 

Visit Ouray also convened a core team of local tourism stakeholders to provide input throughout the design and delivery of the program. Visit Ouray hosted two 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 

Visit Ouray supported the development of a destination assessment consisting of background research, a visitor profile study, a tourism stakeholder survey, and input from the core team. The findings from the assessment were compiled into a report that informed the design of the full-day workshop.

Visit Ouray convened 21 tourism stakeholders on October 25, 2022 for a community visioning and action planning workshop to review the destination assessment and align on priority actions for fostering long-term industry resilience. Workshop participants represented a wide range of tourism stakeholders, including public officials, and representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, outdoor recreation organizations, arts and culture organizations and attractions, educational institutions, accommodations, retail outlets, and restaurants.

Workshop participants engaged in a small group activity to align on the future changes they would like to see implemented that benefit the tourism industry in Ouray. Overlapping themes from these discussions included: advance off-peak tourism opportunities through the promotion of winter visitation, enhance communication and collaboration between tourism stakeholders and local businesses, improve visitor management strategies through responsible and respectful use messaging, educate and engage residents on the value of tourism.

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:

  • encourage responsible and respectful use 
  • champion the value of tourism 
  • advance off-peak tourism opportunities 
  • promote local businesses and experiences 

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 improve visitor management strategies through responsible and respectful use messaging, and the promotion of off-peak tourism opportunities, especially winter visitation. 

Project objectives included:

  • develop the Ouray Visitor Guide in collaboration with Visit Ouray that can be used as a visitor marketing and management tool 
  • develop a Do Ouray Right campaign to promote responsible and respectful use in Ouray and on public lands 

Visit Ouray achieved the following results through the Reimagine Destinations Mentor project:

  • Ouray Visitor Guide content distribution plan that was approved by the Ouray Tourism Advisory Council   
  • Do Ouray Right campaign assets that includes a customized logo and approved messaging for use on, social media, digital marketing, and the Ouray Visitor Guide 

“This program was a catalyst for creating a more united community in terms of what our goals are, where we need to be placing our time and effort, and creating a platform for open communication.”

-Kailey Rhoten, Visit Ouray

CRAFT Recovery assistance for Tourism

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.