Colorado Rural Academy For Tourism (CRAFT)

Colorado Rural Academy For Tourism

The Colorado Rural Academy For Tourism (CRAFT) helps communities integrate tourism into their economic development strategies through four programs. By participating in these programs, communities develop new visitor experiences to increase traveler spending. 

Focusing on cultural tourism, culinary and agritourism, outdoor recreation, tourism marketing and visitor management, CRAFT helps rural tourism partners to:

  • increase collaboration between diverse stakeholders within a destination to build relationships and trust
  • engage in group discussions about the changes you want to see in your destination
  • identify short, medium, and long term strategies to realize this change
  • prioritize short term strategies and develop collaborative work plans to implement them 

In fall 2020,  the CRAFT Recovery Mentor program was created as a direct response to the impacts of COVID-19 containment and the 2020 wildfire season.

Since its inception, the Colorado Tourism Office has held 116 unique CRAFT programs in 40 of Colorado's 64 counties. Through the CRAFT program, we hope to achieve:

  • increased tourism knowledge and related skills
  • increased collaboration and capacity to manage tourism
  • increased access to funding and technical assistance to advance tourism projects
  • enhanced visitor readiness and visitor experience
  • enhanced reputation through increased promotion

Overview

Type: Five programs

For: Destinations, industry associations, and businesses

Application deadline: Varies by program

OEDIT division: Colorado Tourism Office

CRAFT Programs

CRAFT Studio 101

This program supports destinations that are in the early stages of integrating tourism into their economic development strategies by providing tourism education and training. Participants receive $10,000 of implementation funding upon completion.

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CRAFT Workshops

These workshops provide training and facilitated discussions for tourism destinations that want to advance a tourism-related strategy relating to a specific industry segment or visitor experience. Participants receive $2,500 of implementation funding upon completion.

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CRAFT Studio 201

This program provides 100 hours of customized mentoring for tourism destinations that want to advance a specific tourism-related goal or strategy. Participants receive $7,500 of implementation funding upon completion.

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CRAFT Mentor

This program provides up to 50 hours of mentoring for tourism-related entities that want to advance a specific tourism-related goal or strategy. Participants receive $1,000 of implementation funding upon completion.

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CRAFT Toolkits

This program provides Colorado tourism professionals with access to free educational content that supports continued learning opportunities related to the tourism industry. Nine toolkits are available on topics such as adventure tourism, sustainable tourism, and tourism marketing.

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Program Manager