Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism Studio 101

The Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) Studio 101 is a four-month program that supports destinations in the early stages of the place lifecycle. The program provides tourism education and training on integrating tourism into economic development strategies.

Selected destinations will participate in six in-person training sessions, online training, and group project work to gain knowledge on:

  • community-based tourism
  • visitor readiness
  • tourism entrepreneurship
  • tourism marketing
  • cultural tourism
  • culinary and agritourism
  • outdoor recreation
  • cycling tourism
  • sustainable tourism

CRAFT Studio 101 goals include:

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

Within 90 days after completing a CRAFT Studio 101 program, you can apply for a $10,000 CRAFT Studio 101 Implementation Funding grant to advance one or more tourism strategies discussed during the program.

Overview

Type: Consulting/technical assistance

For: Tourism destinations

Amount: Up to $10,000 per destination

Application deadlines: January and July

OEDIT division: Colorado Tourism Office

The applicant should represent:

  • a local government
  • destination marketing organization
  • chamber of commerce
  • tourism industry association
  • a tourism board, panel, or committee

To apply to receive a CRAFT Studio 101, your destination needs to:

  • identify at least one or two local champions to lead the effort, a core group of at least five additional community members that can represent the local geography and tourism-related sectors, and a diverse group of active partners that can attend the sessions throughout four month program
  • provide a venue for at least six in-person training sessions in your destination
  • provide outreach to locals for in-person training sessions (business owners, potential tourism entrepreneurs, local government, chamber of commerce, etc.)

Destinations are not eligible if they failed to fulfill past Colorado Tourism Office grant award requirements in the last year. These requirements include project completion, submitting required reporting, proper use of grant funds, lack of acknowledgment, and changes to grant proposal without approval.

  This program is currently on hiatus. Please see the Colorado Recovery Assistance For Tourism program for information on the refinement of the CRAFT program to meet the crisis-recovery needs of destinations and industry associations.

The application opens twice a year and closes every January and July. 

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.

A representative from the Colorado Tourism Office will respond to your CRAFT Studio 101 application within two weeks of your submission.

Application materials

Application questions
The questions below are only a reference and do not include all of the information needed in the application. For each narrative question response, there is a limit of 5,000 characters including spaces and punctuation.

  • Describe why your destination is applying for a CRAFT Studio 101 and why it is an appropriate time to begin this effort.
  • Include past examples of successful initiatives demonstrating your ability to implement collaborative tourism projects.
  • Explain how you will support the on-site coordination of program-related activities.
  • If selected as a participating destination for CRAFT Studio 101, what are your expected outcomes from this effort? List at least three.
  • List the current assets and resources your destination identifies for tourism.
  • Is there local financing in place or in kind donations to support the delivery of the CRAFT Studio 101? If so, what are the sources and dollar amount or dollar equivalent? 

Supporting documents
You will need to provide:

  • a list of supporting individuals and organizations – Demonstrate broad community support for this program with a list of individuals and organizations that will support this effort, along with the role they will play throughout the program duration.
  • three to five letters of support

A panel of industry partners and Colorado Tourism office staff reviews applications and recommends awards based on application scores and available funds. The panel reviews applications on these criteria:

Merit (30%)
You will need to show:

  • overall strength of application request
  • evidence of previous success

Community involvement (30%)
You will need to show:

  • local champions and core group
  • evidence of community support

Impact (20%)
You will need to show outcomes and potential for success.

Implementation capacity (20%) 
You will need to show:

  • planning and management support
  • financial ability

A representative from the Colorado Tourism Office will respond to your CRAFT Studio 101 application within two weeks of your submission.

CRAFT Studio 101 Implementation Funding grants provide CRAFT Studio 101 participants $10,000 to implement one or more tourism projects that were discussed during the program. Destinations need to apply for this grant within 90 days of completing CRAFT Studio 101 and projects need to be completed within twelve months of receiving grant funds.

Past grantees used these funds to:

  • promote a new regional event
  • develop an asset inventory for marketing
  • conduct a photography shoot to gain updated, rights free images
  • conduct an in-depth visitor profile study

You may not use this grant for:

  • staffing/salary costs
  • basic overhead needs
  • capital improvements, new construction, renovation, or restoration
  • professional training or scholarship
  • reimbursement of fees or expenses paid prior to application award
  • office supplies or items for resale

How to apply

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.

Your application needs to include a:

  • detailed project description
  • timeline for the project
  • budget outlining all anticipated expenses

Selection process

We will notify you about award status within one month of submitting your application. A panel of Colorado Tourism Office staff and a program facilitator reviews applications and recommends awards based on available funds.

Conditions of funding

As a condition of the receipt of a CRAFT Studio 101 Implementation Funding grant, you need to complete a baseline questionnaire and a mid-program evaluation. Within 30 days after the completion of your CRAFT Studio 101 Implementation Funding grant project, you need to submit a final report. Twelve to 18 months after you complete the CRAFT Studio 101 program, Colorado Tourism Office staff will follow up with you to gauge long-term outcomes in the destination.

Program Manager

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