The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO), a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), announced today that its Matching Marketing Grants program has awarded more than $540,000 in grants to 17 Colorado organizations, from Moffat County to Custer County to Prowers County, all across the entire state, to aid in their marketing efforts. This program helps build a robust tourism economy through support of industry partners, while strengthening the overall tourism industry by seeking harmony between quality of life for residents and a strong visitor economy that respects our cultural and natural resources.
This grant program, established in 2001, awards funding to eligible applicants for projects that promote Colorado as a tourism destination, supporting the Colorado Tourism Office’s mission to drive traveler spending through promotion and development of compelling, sustainable travel experiences throughout our four-corner state. These grants may also be used for marketing projects that support better destination management, such as educating visitors on how to recreate responsibly.
Last year, in response to the pandemic, the CTO made several changes to the grant program that will again be offered this year. These changes include keeping the maximum grant amount at $40,000 and aiding projects that target future economic development and recovery for the tourism industry throughout the year and beyond. As a part of the selection process, the CTO looked for proposals that reinforced and strengthened the Colorado brand, contributed to statewide marketing efforts, demonstrated between two or more destinations, and efforts that enhanced the state’s competitiveness.
“This is a great opportunity for our industry partners still in recovery to utilize state programs and funding to execute against the community needs of each destination, depending on what their exact recovery needs are,” said CTO Director, Timothy Wolfe. “Our partner needs are as varied as our landscapes, and we need to make sure we are not taking a one-size-fits all approach to tourism efforts across Colorado. This grant does exactly that.”
The annual competitive grant program received 29 applications for a total of over $937,000 in requests. A total of 24 Colorado counties will share in the tourism grants.
The 17 organizations that were awarded a grant include:
- Arkansas River Outfitters Association ($12,000): to build awareness of whitewater rafting and educate visitors on ways to responsibly recreate in Colorado.
- Colorado Cross Country Ski Association ($40,000): to promote midweek travel as well as attract more interactive participation through a Text to Ski campaign.
- Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association ($40,000): to capture increased interest in outdoor recreation through a streamlined campaign that appeals to diverse travelers.
- Custer County Tourism Board ($30,000): to support a "Protect the Night" marketing campaign that champions conservation and shares best practices for viewing Colorado's night skies.
- Durango Area Tourism Office ($40,000): to develop and promote a mobile visitors guide and travel planner that creates customized itineraries aimed at dispersing visitors to improve the visitor experience.
- Fremont County Tourism Council ($40,000): to support the creation and promotion of a new audio tour aimed at providing a new visitor experience during shoulder seasons.
- Gunnison Crested Butte Tourism Association ($40,000): to support a “Doo” Colorado Right campaign, aimed at educating and empowering visitors to practice appropriate outdoor waste disposal in conjunction with the state’s Do Colorado Right messaging.
- History Colorado ($40,000): to support the growth of the motor tour coach market through the promotion of diverse experiences and cultures in the American West.
- Huerfano County ($40,000): to support new marketing efforts through increased assets such as new content, photography, and a website redesign.
- Lake County ($28,000): to expand awareness of the Colorado Historic Opera House Circuit and support cultural and heritage tourism in local communities.
- Marketing Telluride, Inc. ($40,000): to support a data-driven targeted marketing campaign that will promote the town of Mountain Village.
- Meeker Chamber of Commerce ($4,600): to support the marketing of Meeker and the surrounding White River Valley as a recreational area with a primary focus on how to recreate responsibly.
- Moffat County Tourism Association ($15,000): to support the creation and production of marketing materials that promote responsible recreation and respect for natural and cultural resources, especially on public land.
- Poudre Heritage Alliance ($10,925): to support the alignment of branding and marketing efforts among Colorado's three National Heritage Areas to create a sense of continuity and connection.
- Prowers County Lodging Tax Panel ($40,000): to expand "avitourism" on the Great High Prairie through marketing efforts including a new marketing campaign and the creation of a digital guide.
- Steamboat Chamber of Commerce ($40,000): to support international marketing efforts highlighting the unique experiences along the 800-mile Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop and expanding messaging on sustainability and responsible tourism while traveling in the area.
- Visit Golden ($40,000): to support a marketing campaign aimed at attracting visitors during the off-season by utilizing a unified message across all marketing channels.
Grant project execution will start in January 2023 and go through December 2023. To learn more about the Colorado Tourism Office Matching Marketing Grant program, visit oedit.colorado.gov/tourism-marketing-matching-grant.