Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism Workshops

Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) Workshops provide training and facilitated discussions for tourism destinations that want to advance a tourism-related strategy.

CRAFT workshops take place in the destination for one or one-and-a-half days. Available topics include:

  • tourism marketing
  • cultural tourism
  • culinary and agritourism
  • outdoor recreation
  • cycling tourism
  • sustainable tourism

CRAFT Workshop goals include:

  • convene diverse stakeholders in a destination to build relationships and trust to increase collaboration
  • engage in group discussions about how to develop or enhance a specific tourism product within the destination
  • identify short, medium and long term strategies to advance the tourism product
  • prioritize short term strategies and develop collaborative work plans to implement them

Within 90 days after completing a CRAFT Workshop, you can apply for a $2,500 CRAFT Workshop Implementation Funding grant to advance one or more tourism strategies discussed during the program.

Overview

Type: Workshops, education, and training

For: Tourism destinations

Amount: Up to $2,500 per destination

Application period: July to late October

OEDIT division: Colorado Tourism Office

Applicants should represent either:

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

To apply for this grant, a destination needs to:

  • identify at least one or two local champions to lead the effort, and a diverse group of active partners that can attend the workshop and maintain ongoing involvement
  • provide a venue to meet in-person in the destination
  • provide outreach to locals for in-person training sessions (business owners, potential tourism entrepreneurs, local government, chamber of commerce, etc.)

Each applicant is limited to one CRAFT workshop per state fiscal year (July to June).

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.

Applications open every July and close at the end of October. During the application period, workshop applications have a rolling deadline, meaning Colorado Tourism Office staff will review applications as they receive them.

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 Workshop 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 to include in the application.

  • What CRAFT Workshop topic is your destination interested in?
  • Describe your destination’s need for tourism development training for your chosen workshop topic. Include why your destination is seeking this opportunity from the Colorado Tourism Office.
  • Describe why your destination needs tourism education and training now. Why is the timing right?
  • List at least three potential outcomes if your destination is awarded a CRAFT workshop.
  • Identify at least one local champion who will lead this effort. Provide details about how they have successfully led previous tourism-related efforts in the destination. Include how they plan to be inclusive in engaging community stakeholders.
  • Provide examples of past successful community-based initiatives that demonstrate your destination’s ability to convene and implement collaborative tourism projects.
  • Explain how you and your destination will support on-site coordination of CRAFT Workshop activities.

Supporting documents
You will need to provide:

  • at least three letters of support that demonstrate the potential outcomes for the destination
  • a list of individuals and organizations that will support this effort and the role they will play throughout the program’s duration

This is a competitive award program, and not all applicants receive a CRAFT Workshop. The Colorado Tourism Office 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:

  • destination need
  • urgency

Impact (25%)
You will need to show outcomes and potential for success.

Community Involvement (30%)
You will need to identify:

  • local champions
  • core team
  • evidence of community support

Implementation Capacity (15%)
You will need to show:

  • planning and management
  • support and financial ability

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

CRAFT Workshop Implementation Funding grants provide CRAFT Workshop participants $2,500 to implement one or more tourism projects that were discussed during the workshop. Destinations need to apply for this grant within 90 days of completing the CRAFT Workshop. Projects need to be completed within 12 months of receiving grant funds.

Past grantees used these funds to:

  • pursue a regional tourism industry initiative
  • develop oral histories
  • identify assets and create itineraries
  • create content
  • develop an agritourism map

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

Program Manager

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