Restart Destinations Success Story: Visit Montrose

Visit Montrose was approved to participate in the Restart Destinations Program by the Colorado Tourism Office in July 2021. Program objectives included: 

  • advance tourism management strategies
  • prioritize strategies to encourage responsible visitation
  • foster local support and understanding of tourism

Visit Montrose develops, promotes, and manages tourism for the City of Montrose. In 1983, the city began collecting a 0.9% hotel excise that was allocated into a tourism promotion fund for the city. A 0.8% restaurant excise tax was enacted in 1986 to further expand the city’s tourism resources. Visit Montrose refers to the destination as the “perfect spot to serve as your base camp for year-round outdoor adventure” throughout the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains. 

Visit Montrose was paired with Dan Moore, a travel industry professional with experience in tourism development, staff training, and business consulting, to develop a recovery assessment and facilitate a community visioning and action planning workshop.

Visit Montrose convened a core team of local tourism stakeholders and public land managers to provide input throughout the design and delivery of the program. Three core team meetings were held 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 

Visit Montrose 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.

Visit Montrose convened 16 tourism stakeholders on October 26, 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 industry sectors, including public land managers, city and county officials, advocacy organizations, 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 Montrose County. Overlapping themes from these discussions included encouraging responsible visitation throughout the visitor lifecycle and developing experiences that tell the “story” of the region.

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 through education and awareness campaigns that protect public lands and natural resources
  • attract low-impact travelers by advancing stargazing opportunities
  • champion the value of tourism

CRAFT Mentor Project Results

Following the workshop, Visit Montrose was paired with Bobby Chappell, a CRAFT Mentor from the Tourism Consulting Collaborative with experience in destination stewardship planning, visitor use management, and sustainability standards, to deliver 75 hours of free consulting to conduct the activities listed below.

The purpose of this Restart Destinations Mentor project was to develop a programmatic framework to share responsible visitation messaging with visitors, residents, tourism stakeholders, and public land managers. The outcomes of this project will lay the foundation for Visit Montrose to launch the “Ways of the West” stewardship program.

Project objectives included:

  • determine the Ways of the West (WoW) stewardship program purpose and identify key programmatic aspects of the program
  • develop a programmatic framework for Visit Montrose to implement the WoW stewardship program

Visit Montrose achieved the following results through the Restart Destinations Mentor project:

  • program framework that includes the planning process, impact assessment, program overview, and program implementation
  • program templates to support the ongoing engagement with public land managers and development of messaging
  • summary document based on the outcomes of the focus group meetings

"The Restart Destinations Program helped us reestablish and build new connections in our community to better identify the impacts of tourism on our natural resources and create a path forward for managing these impacts in a way that serves land managers, the natural world that makes our destination so special, our city, and our businesses collectively. CTO has put the framework in place and given us clarity on how to move forward in a progressive way with cohesive messaging to best serve our destination in an evolving tourism world." - Shannon Cavello, Community Marketing Specialist, Visit Montrose

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.