Colorado Recovery Assistance For Tourism

The Colorado Recovery Assistance For Tourism program is a series of recovery programs that support Colorado tourism destinations and Colorado tourism industry associations implement collaborative projects that advance recommendations from the Colorado Tourism Roadmap to Recovery through 2023.

This program is funded by a $2.4 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

This program includes three categories:

These new recovery programs are modeled off of the Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) and include a combination of community visioning and action planning workshops, free consulting from tourism experts, and access to funding to implement tourism projects. CRAFT programs are customized to meet the needs and objectives of local participants, with the goal of attracting new forms of visitation, enhancing local tourism offerings, conserving cultural and natural assets, and improving residential quality of life.

As a result of the ongoing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, we expanded the target audience for CRAFT programs to include tourism partners from all areas in Colorado, whether they are urban or rural, and refined the program language to stand for the Colorado Recovery Assistance For Tourism through the period of its CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant.

You can review examples of successful CRAFT recovery projects from October 2020 to June 2021.

Overview

Type: Technical assistance and grant

For: Tourism destinations and industry associations

Amount: Varies

Application deadline: Depends on program

OEDIT division: Colorado Tourism Office

Restart Destinations Program

The Restart Destinations program supports Colorado tourism destinations to drive faster recovery as they emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to 32 Colorado tourism destinations will be selected to participate in CRAFT Restart Destinations programs.

Awarded destinations will receive:

  • a full-day recovery workshop to convene local tourism stakeholders, prioritize recommendations from the Roadmap to Recovery to drive faster recovery, and develop a recovery action plan
  • 75 hours of customized technical assistance to implement priority tactics within the destination’s recovery action plan
  • $10,000 in Colorado Tourism Office marketing support (no match required)

Program timeline

Applications opened on May 6, 2021, and will close on June 17, 2021, at 4 pm.

May 6, 2021 Program applications open
June 17, 2021 Program applications close
July 2021 Destinations are awarded programming
August 2021 Prep and planning
September 2021 Workshops begin
November 2021 Technical assistance begins

Colorado tourism destinations are defined as a collection of communities within common geography that share a common visitor appeal. We encourage partners within destinations to work together on a unified application for their geographic area and applications from multiple destinations are always encouraged.

Eligible lead applicants include:

  • recipients of jurisdictional lodging taxes (such as destination marketing organizations or lodging tax boards, committees, and panels)
  • other tourism leadership organizations that are responsible for developing, promoting, and managing tourism on behalf of a destination (such as chambers of commerce, chamber resort associations, or local county and city governments)

When appropriate, lead applications for destinations should consider additional tourism leadership organizations from adjacent destinations to collaborate with, especially across counties and within regions.

Destinations that include gateway communities to public land units should have land management representation on the core team or have explicit written support. 

Apply online through the OEDIT application portal. Log in or create a new account. New users are manually added to the portal for security reasons, so it may take several days to activate your account.

Instructions for navigating the grant portal are available.

Destinations interested in applying are encouraged to submit a brief Letter of Interest form. While not required, we suggest destinations complete this form prior to submitting a full application so that we can discuss your application and learn more about what your destination hopes to achieve through programming, if known.

We require that each applying destination identifies one or more local tourism champions to serve as the lead applicant for the application. As a condition of selection to participate in a program, these local tourism champions are responsible for approximately 50 hours of work between July 2021 to June 2022. Roles and responsibilities of the lead applicant include:

  • participation in preparation and planning, including providing current data and information on recovery barriers and opportunities within the destination
  • outreach and coordination of tourism stakeholders within the destination
  • event planning support for the full-day workshop, such as venue and catering logistics
  • ongoing leadership within their destination to implement the recovery action plan

You will need to provide:

  • a list of 4 to 6 local tourism stakeholders that will serve on a core team and can provide 20 hours of work to support the design and delivery of the program throughout its duration
  • a Certificate of Good Standing from the Colorado Secretary of State
  • letters of support from supporting individuals and organizations – not required but applications demonstrating broad community support are more competitive

A panel of industry partners and Colorado Tourism Office staff reviews applications and recommends awards based on recovery priorities, capacity to participate, and available funds. A representative from the Colorado Tourism Office will respond to your application within one month of the application deadline.

Restart Industry Associations Program

The Restart Tourism Industry Associations program supports tourism industry associations drive faster recovery as their sectors emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to 20 tourism industry associations will be selected to participate in CRAFT Restart Industry Associations programs.

Awarded tourism industry associations will receive:

  • 75 hours of technical assistance to implement one or more recovery-focused projects that align with the findings from the Colorado Tourism Roadmap to Recovery
  • $10,000 in Colorado Tourism Office marketing support (no match required)

Program timeline

Applications will open in July 2021.

July 2021 Program applications open
August 2021 Industry associations are awarded programming
September 2021 Technical assistance begins

Colorado industry associations are defined as registered nonprofit trade organizations representing one or more tourism-related business sectors and representing a collection of tourism businesses within those sectors. Nonprofit trade organizations that do not represent tourism-related business sectors or that provide services only to individuals, though critically important, are not the intended recipients of these programs.

 Applications will open in July 2021. Please sign up for the Colorado Tourism Office email updates to stay updated on when this application will open.

Apply online through the OEDIT application portal. Log in or create a new account. New users are manually added to the portal for security reasons, so it may take several days to activate your account.

A panel of industry partners and Colorado Tourism Office staff reviews applications and recommends awards based on recovery priorities, capacity to participate, and available funds. A representative from the Colorado Tourism Office will respond to your application within one month of the application deadline.

Reimagine Destinations Program

The Reimagine Destinations program supports planning for growth and future recovery planning of local tourism economies. Up to 32 Colorado tourism destinations will be selected to participate in CRAFT Reimagine Destinations programs.

Awarded destinations will receive:

  • a two-day tourism product development workshop focused on developing or enhancing visitor experiences that connect travelers to multiple Colorado communities in a safe and responsible manner
  • 100 hours of technical assistance to support implementation of strategy and tactics that are prioritized during the workshop
  • $20,000 in Colorado Tourism Office marketing support related to the new or enhanced visitor experiences (no match required)

More information about this program will become available in 2022. Please sign up for the Colorado Tourism Office email updates to stay updated on when this application will open.

Program Manager

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