Restart Destinations Success Story: Moffat County Tourism Association

Moffat County Tourism Association (MCTA) was approved to participate in the Restart Destinations Program by the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) in July 2021. Program objectives included: 

  • assist the launch of the Northwest Colorado Outdoor Coalition (NCOC)
  • advocate for visitor-ready outdoor recreation experiences in Moffat County
  • understand and improve upon resident sentiment towards tourism 

Located in The Great West travel region, Moffat County is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Surrounded by nearly two million acres of public lands, and bisected by free-flowing rivers, the area provides sanctuary for hundreds of species of wildlife as well as solitude for residents and visitors. Popular activities include hunting, fishing, boating, wildlife viewing, birding, and driving off-road vehicles.

MCTA receives funding from a 2% Moffat County lodging tax to advance tourism throughout the county by partnering with local tourism stakeholders to coordinate implementation of tourism-related activities. A key MCTA partner is the Craig Chamber of Commerce (CCC) that operates the local visitor center and assists with the implementation of tourism-related activities.

MCTA 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 recovery assessment and facilitate a full-day community visioning and action planning workshop.

MCTA also convened a core team of local tourism stakeholders to provide input throughout the design and delivery of the program. Two core team meetings were held to identify priority barriers and opportunities for advancing tourism, validate the findings from the recovery assessment, and guide workshop design. 

Recovery Assessment and Workshop Results 

MCTA and CCC 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. The findings from the assessment were compiled into a report that informed the design of the full-day workshop.

MCTA and CCC convened 30 tourism stakeholders on October 19, 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 public land advocates, city and county officials, nonprofits, and business owners. 

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 Moffat County. Overlapping themes from these discussions included encouraging responsible visitation, increasing visitor readiness, and building local awareness of the value of tourism.

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:

  • protect local quality of life and the environment
  • support outdoor recreation and visitor-ready infrastructure

CRAFT Mentor Project Results

Following the workshop, MCTA was paired with Sarah-Jane Johnson, a CRAFT Mentor from the Tourism Consulting Collaborative, with experience in rural destination development, tourism marketing, and communications, and stakeholder engagement to deliver 75 hours of free consulting to conduct the activities listed below.

The purpose of this Restart Destinations Mentor project was to raise awareness of the value of tourism in Moffat County and to support the formation of the Northwest Colorado Outdoor Coalition (NCOC).

Project objectives included:

  • develop a communication toolkit that champions the value of tourism amongst elected officials, tourism stakeholders, small business owners, and residents 
  • support the goals and vision of the NCOC

MCTA achieved the following results through the Restart Destinations Mentor project:

  • communication toolkit to champion the value of tourism that includes a communications strategy, messaging and talking points, and presentation deck
  • NCOC organizational tools that includes meeting presentation, and templates for email communications, meeting agendas, and workplan
  • facilitated action-planning work session for NCOC meeting, May 19, 2022
  • facilitation of peer-mentoring with the Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance that includes a draft presentation for the July 21, 2022 NCOC meeting
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.