Restart Destinations Success Story: Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel

Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel (PCLTP) was approved to participate in the Restart Destinations Program by the Colorado Tourism Office in July 2021. Program objectives included: 

  • explore ways to enhance visitor readiness
  • prioritize opportunities to diversify visitor experiences
  • build local understanding and support for tourism 
  • identify opportunities to support local tourism workforce

Located in the Canyons & Plains travel region, Prowers County is primarily an agricultural region that is known for its wide open spaces and friendly frontier spirit. Prior to Prowers County enacting a 2% county lodging tax in 2005, there had been little to no focus on actively promoting the region to visitors from outside of the county, despite being a destination with significant cultural and historic landmarks, wildlife, and events. 

The mission of the PCLTP is to manage funds received through collection of the 2% lodging tax for the purpose of marketing, advertising, and providing group incentives that inspire travel to Prowers County.

PCLTP 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.

PCLTP also convened a core team of local tourism stakeholders to provide input throughout the design and delivery of the program. PCLTP 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 

PCLTP 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.

PCLTP convened 17 tourism stakeholders on November 18, 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 accommodations, elected officials, city and county staff, agritourism and cultural attractions, Colorado Welcome Center staff, volunteers, and local 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 Prowers County. Overlapping themes from these discussions included developing cultural, agricultural, and nature-based tourism experiences, enhancing visitor readiness of existing tourism assets and experiences, and championing the value of tourism to increase community support for the PCLTP.

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:

  • develop natural and cultural heritage experiences 
  • enhance visitor readiness at existing attractions 
  • champion the value of tourism 
  • support hospitality workforce development and training

CRAFT Mentor Project Results

Following the workshop, PCLTP was paired with Amy Cassidy, a CRAFT Mentor with experience in tourism development, strategic planning, marketing and communications in emerging and established destinations throughout Colorado, to deliver 75 hours of free consulting to conduct the activities listed below.

The purpose of this Restart Destinations Mentor project was to develop narrative itineraries that build on existing self-guided tours and highlight local businesses, and to develop a content hub for the recently enacted Amache National Historic Site (Amache) designation.

Project objectives included: 

  • develop cultural and natural history itineraries for publication on 
  • develop a content library to promote Prowers County as a hub for future visits to Amache

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

  • three itineraries that feature cultural and natural history attractions, activities, dining, and accommodations for publication on 
  • content library for use by PCLTP and their partner agency in future Amache promotional campaigns that includes access to image resources 

"We have placed Camp Amache foremost in the project and I think this is a good first step." - Jane Felter, Chairman, Prowers County Tourism Panel

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.