- convene local stakeholders to align on opportunities for advancing tourism
- identify strategies that build local awareness of the value of tourism
- advance activities that develop and enhance visitor experience
- explore different scenarios for diversifying tourism-related funding
Located in northeast Colorado and positioned at the borders of Nebraska and Kansas, Yuma County serves as a gateway into the Centennial State. Known for its rich cultural heritage and agricultural activities, visitors are more recently taking advantage of the destination’s outdoor recreation and birding opportunities.
Yuma County Economic Development (Yuma County) is responsible for the development and management of tourism throughout the county. Due to a lack of countywide funding for tourism or a dedicated tourism position for the county, tourism-related activities are coordinated by the Executive Director in partnership with the Wray and Yuma Chambers of Commerce. More recently, Yuma County has been participating in collaborative efforts to advance tourism in partnership with the Northeast Colorado Travel Region (NECTR).
Yuma County was paired with Dan Moore, CEO of Pandion Consulting & Facilitation, a travel industry consultancy with experience in tourism development, staff training, and business consulting, to develop a destination assessment, facilitate a community visioning and action planning workshop, and provide 100 hours of consulting to Yuma County.
Yuma County convened a core team of tourism stakeholders to provide input throughout the design and delivery of the program. Yuma County hosted 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
Yuma County supported the development of a destination assessment consisting of background research, a visitor profile study, a resident sentiment survey, 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.
Yuma County convened 27 tourism stakeholders on November 8, 2022 for a community visioning and action planning workshop. Workshop participants represented a wide range of tourism stakeholders, including elected officials, economic development directors, accommodations, and concerned citizens.
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 Yuma County. Overlapping themes from these discussions included diversifying visitor experiences related to agritourism and cultural tourism, increasing local engagement with tourism activities, marketing local businesses, and increasing access to tourism-related funding.
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:
- champion the value of tourism
- develop and enhance visitor experience
- promote local businesses and experiences
- secure sustainable tourism funding
CRAFT Mentor Results
Following the workshop, 100 hours of consulting were provided to conduct the activities listed below. The purpose of this CRAFT Mentor project was to develop and enhance visitor experience by advancing agritourism and researching public funding mechanisms for tourism in Yuma County.
Project objectives included:
- develop the production materials for an agritourism workshop that educates attendees on the value of agritourism and gathers input on the future of agritourism in Yuma County
- research the feasibility of different public funding mechanisms to advance tourism in Yuma County
- provide input on Yuma County tourism content that highlights local agritourism, cultural tourism, and stargazing
Yuma County achieved the following results through the Reimagine Destinations Mentor project:
- stakeholder interviews to gather input on agritourism in Yuma County and public funding mechanisms for tourism
- draft production materials for a Yuma County agritourism workshop
- research on public funding models for tourism in Yuma County
- recommendations for a press visit in spring 2023
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.