Restart Destinations Success Story: Towns of Minturn & Red Cliff

The Towns of Minturn and Red Cliff approved to participate in the Restart Destinations Program by the Colorado Tourism Office in July 2021. Program objectives included: 

  • foster stronger collaboration between Minturn and Red Cliff on tourism marketing and management opportunities 
  • identify strategies that support a more resilient tourism workforce
  • convene tourism stakeholders to identify barriers and opportunities for advancing tourism and align on collaborative solutions 

Located in the Rockies Playground, the towns of Minturn and Red Cliff are 10 miles apart and nestled between the glamour of Vail and Beaver Creek. The towns provide easy access to a wealth of outdoor adventures and are surrounded by the Holy Cross Wilderness, the White River National Forest, and the mighty Eagle River. 

Staff working within the towns of Minturn and Red Cliff (“Minturn and Red Cliff”) government are responsible for the development, management, and promotion of tourism locally. Tourism-related programs and initiatives are funded through a variety of revenue sources, which include sales taxes, fees, and lodging taxes.

Minturn and Red Cliff were paired with Hilary Lewkowitz, a CRAFT Workshop Facilitator with experience in tourism development, stakeholder engagement, sustainable tourism, and destination marketing, to develop a recovery assessment and facilitate a community visioning and action planning workshop.

Minturn and Red Cliff convened a core team of local tourism stakeholders to provide input throughout the design and delivery of the program. Minturn and Red Cliff hosted two 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 

Minturn and Red Cliff supported the development of a recovery assessment consisting of background research, a visitor profile survey, insights from residents and tourism stakeholders, and input from the core team.

Minturn and Red Cliff convened 16 tourism stakeholders on November 2, 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 variety of tourism stakeholders, including public officials, public land agencies, economic development, trails organizations, retail, accommodations, attractions, and education.

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 Minturn and Red Cliff. Overlapping themes from these discussions included creation of a Minturn and Red Cliff brand, increasing protection of natural resources, attracting responsible travelers, incorporating resident quality of life into tourism planning, increasing low-impact travel opportunities, and advancing local business opportunities. 

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:

  • encourage responsible visitation 
  • advance Minturn and Red Cliff community and economic development opportunities 
  • champion the value of tourism

CRAFT Mentor Project Results 

Following the workshop, Minturn and Red Cliff were paired with Derek Schimmel, a CRAFT Mentor with experience in tourism content marketing and destination development storytelling, to deliver 75 hours of free consulting to conduct the activities listed below.

The purpose of this Restart Destinations Mentor project was to identify priority impacts on public lands, develop responsible recreation messaging, and understand collaboration opportunities between Minturn and Red Cliff.

Project objectives included:

  • develop digital content that presents Minturn and Red Cliff as a unified destination 
  • convene outdoor recreation stakeholders to understand priority impacts on public lands 
  • develop responsible recreation messaging for Minturn and Red Cliff communication channels, including tourism stakeholders and residents 

Minturn and Red Cliff achieved the following results through the Restart Destinations Mentor project:

  • digital content and resources for websites, social media channels, and digital storytelling platforms
  • responsible recreation messaging toolkit related to priority impacts on public lands
  • recommendations to integrate responsible recreation messaging into an outdoor recreation guide

"Participating in the Restart Destinations Program has given us great insights on how to better market ourselves and how to better partner with our neighboring destinations on joint campaigns and messaging.  We now have a toolkit to support us in our messaging, education, and outreach." - Cindy Krieg, Economic Development, Town of Minturn 

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.