Restart Destinations Success Story: City of Central

City of Central was approved to participate in the Restart Destinations Program by the Colorado Tourism Office in July 2021. Program objectives included: 

  • improve communication and collaboration between tourism stakeholders 
  • build local business capacity to participate in marketing Central City through shared resources 
  • provide materials for educating frontline hospitality and casino staff to build awareness of available tourism experiences in Central City 
  • diversify tourism experiences for visitors and residents 

Located in the Rockies Playground, Central City is one of three gaming communities in Colorado. In addition to gaming, Central City has a rich gold mining history, cultural attractions and events, and outdoor recreation opportunities in the surrounding Arapaho National Forest. 

The City of Central and the Central City Business Improvement District (BID) partner on activities that assist private efforts to develop, manage, and promote tourism locally. The core focus of this collaboration is acknowledged in a section of the City of Central 2020 Comprehensive Plan dedicated to branding, marketing, and promotion for visitors, residents, and businesses that is supported through a budget for implementation.

City of Central was paired with Amy Cassidy, a CRAFT Workshop Facilitator with experience in tourism and outdoor recreation development, strategic planning, marketing, and communications in emerging and established destinations throughout Colorado, to develop a recovery assessment and facilitate a full-day community visioning and action planning workshop.

City of Central also convened a core team of local tourism stakeholders to provide input throughout the design and delivery of the program. City of Central hosted three core team meetings to identify priority barriers and opportunities for advancing tourism, discuss the findings from the recovery assessment, and guide workshop design. 

Recovery Assessment and Workshop Results 

City of Central supported the development of a recovery assessment consisting of background research, a visitor profile study, insights from residents and tourism stakeholders, and input from the core team.

City of Central convened 15 tourism stakeholders on November 16, 2021 for a community visioning and action planning workshop to review the recovery assessment and align on priority actions for driving near-term recovery and long-term resilience. Workshop participants represented a wide range of tourism stakeholders, including hotel and casino owners and operators, staff from historical and cultural attractions, restaurants, small businesses, and economic development organizations, and elected officials. 

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 Central City. Overlapping themes from these discussions included diversifying experiences for both residents and visitors, building stronger business partnerships and collaboration, and promoting local businesses and attractions. 

As a result of the workshop discussions, participants aligned on key priorities and action items to inform the development of a recovery action plan. Key priorities include:

  • promote local businesses and experiences
  • improve local communication and collaboration between Central City tourism partners
  • diversify and enhance visitor experiences related to cultural heritage, creative arts, outdoor recreation, and events

CRAFT Mentor Project Results

Following the workshop, City of Central was paired with Amy Cassidy, a CRAFT Mentor with experience in tourism marketing, stakeholder engagement, and content creation to deliver 75 hours of free consulting to conduct the activities listed below.

The purpose of this Restart Destinations Mentor project was to diversify experiences for both residents and visitors, foster stronger business partnerships and collaboration, and promote local businesses and attractions.

Project objectives included: 

  • complete an audit to update Google and Apple maps listings to ensure accurate representation of local businesses, attractions, and experiences
  • convene a marketing group to develop unifying marketing initiatives that promote all of Central City’s attractions and activities
  • curate five itineraries that showcase year-round visitor experiences and highlight local businesses and attractions

City of Central achieved the following results through the Restart Destinations Mentor project:

  • database of Central City businesses that includes Google and Apple maps listings 
  • Central City businesses contacted to review Apple and Google maps listing, and provide instructions on how to update or add a listing on Apple and Google maps listings,, and 
  • three marketing group meetings with local business owners and marketing professionals, City of Central, and the City of Central’s partner marketing agency 
  • digital storytelling content and resources for, social media channels, and digital storytelling platforms

“For the first time (in my experience with Central City), we are seeing all the tourism partners come to the table to collaborate.” - Lisa Roemhildt, Community Development Director, Central City

CRAFT Recovery assistance for Tourism

About Restart Destinations Program

The Restart Destinations Program supports Colorado tourism destinations to drive faster recovery as they emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Awarded destinations receive a recovery assessment, a full-day recovery workshop, 75 hours of customized technical assistance, and $10,000 in direct marketing support from the Colorado Tourism Office. This program was made possible by a CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.