Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey

Being a leader in the tourism industry is more important than ever. As one of the leading industries in Colorado’s economy, it is vital to ensure that the tourism industry has the access and ability to foster talented leaders who we can depend on for our future success. The Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey was developed in 2017 as a statewide leadership program designed to activate the full potential of Colorado’s tourism industry through its people. 
The Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey is a one of a kind program that is aimed at managers and executives who are seeking to grow their tourism leadership skills. This tuition-based, year-long program, creates an opportunity to strengthen leadership skills not only for the benefit of the participants, but also for their employers and communities. For employers, it is a cost-effective means for developing, rewarding and retaining top talent. By equipping tourism leaders and emerging professionals with skills to inspire others, create change and overcome challenges, we are building a competitive edge for a key Colorado industry.

Through the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey, participants will:

  • Build leadership skills, creative team problem-solving skills, listening and communication skills, and more
  • Develop relationships and networking pathways within the Colorado tourism industry
  • Participate in transformational, experiential learning opportunities around the state
  • Increase knowledge and understanding of the Colorado tourism industry
  • Engage with alumni after the program concludes

This one-year program will begin August 2022 and conclude at the annual Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference in September 2023. The program encompasses:

  • Five experiential learning opportunities spanning three days (half day, full day, half day) 
  • Monthly meetings with small groups
  • Required readings on leadership competencies  
  • Regular connections with assigned mentors
  • Completion of an Action Learning Project
  • Attendance, registration fees and networking opportunities at the 2023 Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference
  • Discounted registration fees and networking opportunities at the 2022 Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference (attendance optional)

“This experience has given me the opportunity to take leadership traits and values that I’ve always admired and turn them into practical and tangible applications in my everyday life. It has been an unforgettable experience to be surrounded by incredible leaders who are learning together to better themselves and the industry.” – Melissa Williams, Visit Colorado Springs


Type: Leadership program

For: Tourism professionals

Cost: $2,500 per person

Application deadline: Late June

OEDIT division: Colorado Tourism Office

Participants represent a range of sectors including, but not limited to:

  • Accommodations and Hotels
  • Agritourism 
  • Charitable/Social Organizations
  • Cultural Facilities and Groups
  • Destination Marketing Organizations
  • Gaming 
  • Media/Marketing/Advertising
  • Private Attractions
  • Public Lands Agencies
  • Restaurant, Food & Beverage
  • Ski Industry and Outdoor Recreation
  • Transportation

To be eligible, you need to:

  • Work in a sector of the Colorado tourism industry
  • Demonstrate capability as an emerging leader 
  • Complete the required application process
  • Provide a letter of recommendation from your organization to participate in the Leadership Journey (unless you are an independent contractor)

Participating in the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey is a significant time commitment. Only one excused absence is allowed to accommodate extreme circumstances. 

If you are selected for the class, you are responsible for:

  • $2,500 for tuition, which includes attendance at one Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference, all program facilitation, meals and activity fees at the five experiences across the state. (Limited scholarships for tuition, travel reimbursement or child care stipends are available based on need. Contact for more information.)
  • Costs for travel and lodging (about $200 per night) to take part in experiences. 
  • Attending a minimum of four of the five experiences (including final experience at the Governor’s Conference)
  • Purchasing or acquiring the required readings (four books, about $20 per book)
  • Completing required readings and other materials
  • Developing a relationship with an assigned mentor, including initiating regular mentoring sessions
  • Attending monthly small-group discussions
  • Completing an action learning project

Below you’ll find the schedule for the Class of 2023. Please use this as a reference while we finalize details for the Class of 2023 curriculum and schedule. All experiences, with the exception of experience V, will begin at 1:00pm MT on the first day and conclude by Noon MT on the last day. 

  • Virtual Onboarding Session - August 23, 2022, 11:00am - 1:00pm MT
  • Experience I: Location TBD - October 17 - 19, 2022
  • Experience II: Colorado Springs - January 2023 (exact dates TBD)
  • Experience III: Location TBD - April 10 - 12, 2023
  • Experience IV: Location TBD - July 19 - 21, 2023
  • Experience V: Governor’s Conference, Location TBA - September 27 - 29, 2023

The application will be open Monday, May 2nd, 2022 through 4PM MST Friday, June 24th, 2022.

APPLY HERE                   

The application includes basic demographic information, short answer questions and other documentation outlined below. The following short answer samples are only a reference and do not include all of the information you need to include in the application.

  • Tell us who you are, beyond your resume. Share about your work in the tourism industry and/or in your community. 
  • How would your participation in this program make a difference for you, your employer and for your community? 
  • Describe a time when you adapted to change, overcame a challenge, and/or demonstrated resilience.

Your completed application will also need to provide uploads of:

  • A resume that gives an overview of your employment history, educational background, current affiliations, and extracurricular activities.
  • One (1) letter of recommendation for your participation in this program from your employer. 

This is a competitive application process. A panel of Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) staff, industry partners and facilitators will review applications once the application period ends and conduct virtual interviews on July 20, 21 and 22, 2022. All applicants will be notified of status in the program by August 5, 2022. 

The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) engaged the Keystone Policy Center to design a curriculum around both career and personal growth for participants. CTO staff, the CTO Leadership Committee, and the CTO Leadership Alumni Committee guide the program.

Program Manager

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