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 the CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant.

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


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.

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 for this program closed on June 17, 2021.

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. 

 Applications for this program closed on June 17, 2021 and are not being accepted at this time. Sign up for tourism program updates to receive email notifications when applications for other Colorado Tourism Office programs become available.

We require that each applying destination identifies one or more local tourism champions to serve as the lead applicant for the application. 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.

Map of participants

The following Colorado tourism destinations were approved to participate in the Restart Destinations Program in July 2021:

  • Aspen Chamber Resort Association
  • Canyons & Plains of Southeast Colorado (on behalf of Bent, Baca, Crowley, Las Animas, Prowers, Otero, and Kiowa County)
  • City of Central
  • City of Woodland Park
  • Clear Creek County Tourism Bureau
  • Creede/Mineral County Chamber of Commerce (on behalf of Silver Thread Scenic Byway)
  • Custer County Tourism Board
  • Fremont County Tourism Council
  • Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce (on behalf of Pueblo County)
  • Hinsdale County/Lake City Marketing Committee
  • Lake County Tourism Panel
  • Marble Crystal River Chamber
  • Mesa Verde Country Tourism Office
  • Moffat County Tourism Association
  • Prowers County Tourism Board
  • Tourism Council of Carbondale (on behalf of the Roaring Fork Valley)
  • Town of Lyons
  • Towns of Fruita and Palisade
  • Towns of Minturn and Red Cliff
  • Towns of Silverthorne and Dillon
  • Visit Colorado Springs (on behalf of El Paso, Fremont, and Teller County)
  • Visit Durango
  • Visit Estes Park
  • Visit Fort Collins
  • Visit Glenwood Springs
  • Visit La Junta
  • Visit Montrose
  • Visit Ouray

Restart Industry Associations Program

The Restart Tourism Industry Associations program helps tourism industry associations recover faster as their sectors emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

July 13, 2021 Program applications open
August 26, 2021 Program applications close
September 2021 Industry associations are awarded programming
October 2021 Technical assistance begins

Program webinar

The Colorado Tourism Office hosted an informational webinar about the Restart Industry Associations Program on Thursday, July 15. Watch a recording of the webinar.

Colorado tourism 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.

Colorado tourism industry associations that implement activities that interface will public land units in Colorado should submit Letters of Support from relevant land managers with their application. 

 Applications closed on August 26, 2021.

We require that each applying industry association identifies one or more tourism projects in their application to implement with the 75 hours of technical assistance being provided through the program. Example project types are listed below and applicants also have an opportunity to submit project ideas that are not included in this list.

  • Strategic planning
  • Tourism marketing and communications
  • Tourism product development
  • Board development
  • Fundraising
  • Research
  • Membership development
  • Education and training

Although not a requirement for submitting an application, interested industry associations are strongly encouraged to submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) to schedule a 30-minute consultation about the program and the application process. A Colorado Tourism Office representative will respond within 7 business days of each submission to schedule a meeting.

You are encouraged to download a PDF of the application to review the questions and prepare responses for them before accessing the OEDIT application portal.

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.

Map of participants

The following Colorado tourism industry associations were approved to participate in the Restart Industry Associations Program in September 2021:

  • Bicycle Colorado
  • Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway
  • Colorado Agritourism Association
  • Colorado Association for Viticulture & Enology (CAVE)
  • Colorado Brewers Guild
  • Colorado Distillers Guild
  • Colorado Restaurant Association
  • Destination Colorado
  • Fort Sedgwick Historical Society
  • Gold Belt Tour Scenic and Historic Byway Association
  • Grand Lake Creative District
  • Grand Mesa Byway Association
  • Museums of the San Luis Valley and Southern Colorado
  • Northwest Colorado Cultural Heritage Program
  • Pikes Peak Outdoor Recreation Alliance
  • Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area
  • Santa Fe Trail Scenic & Historic Byway
  • Trail of the Ancients Byway Association
  • Western Colorado Adventure Trail (WestCAT)

Reimagine Destinations Program

The Reimagine Destinations program supports planning for growth and future recovery planning of local tourism economies.

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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