Restart Destinations Success Story: Visit Pueblo

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

  • convene Pueblo County tourism stakeholders to align on shared goals for advancing tourism
  • identify priority actions for Visit Pueblo to strengthen the visitor economy throughout Pueblo County
  • identify and reconcile barriers for Visit Pueblo to increase group travel, business travel, and high-impact events

Located in the Pikes Peak Wonders travel region, the City of Pueblo was one of the first Colorado settlements and has a rich history as an agricultural area as well as a commerce center at the convergence of railroads. Collectively, the joint history of the city and greater Pueblo County has resulted in the creation of several museums, attractions, and events that share the destination’s heritage with guests.

Visit Pueblo is the tourism marketing and management division of the Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce and receives a portion of the 4.3% lodger’s tax collected within the City of Pueblo to help market all of Pueblo County to visitors. Visit Pueblo also works closely with the Pueblo Convention Center to advance group travel and business travel opportunities.

Visit Pueblo was paired with Tina Valdecanas and David Holder, principals at Clarity of Place, a consulting firm with experience in destination marketing, organizational efficiency, and tourism development, to develop a recovery assessment and facilitate a community visioning and action planning workshop.

Visit Pueblo also convened the Destination Pueblo Advisory Committee, an entity that represents approximately 90% of Pueblo County tourism attractions, to serve on a core team of local tourism stakeholders that provided input throughout the design and delivery of the program. Visit Pueblo 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 

Visit Pueblo 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 Pueblo convened 23 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 public officials, hoteliers, creative arts providers, local attractions, and museums.

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 Pueblo County. Overlapping themes from these discussions included repositioning the value of tourism to include the quality of life benefits it provides to residents, identifying additional funding streams for Visit Pueblo to be more competitive in leisure and group travel markets, building awareness of the totality of experiences to enjoy in Pueblo County, and increasing signature and high-impact events that build broader awareness of the destination. 

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:

  • diversify tourism funding by identifying additional funding sources inside and outside of the City of Pueblo
  • enhance visitor experience for both local residents and guests
  • champion the value of tourism by positioning the industry as one that enhances quality of life for residents

CRAFT Mentor Project Results

Following the workshop, Visit Pueblo was paired with Tina Valdecanas, a CRAFT Mentor with experience in destination competitiveness and tourism advocacy, to deliver 75 hours of free consulting to conduct the activities listed below.

The purpose of this Restart Destinations Mentor project was to assist Visit Pueblo in understanding and exploring available tourism-related funding structures that increase the organization's ability to amplify the brand of the city and drive higher levels of visitation.

Project objectives included:

  • develop messaging for elected officials and residents to better understand and value the impact of tourism on the city's economy
  • compare Visit Pueblo's marketing scope, program, and budget with competing destinations
  • explore additional ways Visit Pueblo can better convey local attractions on (e.g., itineraries and "things to do" webpage) 

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

  • presentation to convey how Visit Pueblo's work impacts the city's economic vitality
  • presentation on potential funding options to increase tourism promotion opportunities
  • comparative assessment of Visit Pueblo's resource structure to better understand how the organization's existing marketing and programming initiatives can be enhanced to effectively target potential group business 
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.