Colorado Tourism Office Manages Recovery During Crisis Through CRAFT Recovery Mentor Program

The Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) Recovery Mentor program provides up to 50 hours of mentoring for Colorado tourism partners to advance one or more tourism strategies that bolsters their response to a recent crisis or natural disaster.

Purpose

The Colorado Tourism Office developed the CRAFT Recovery Mentor program in fall 2020 as a direct response to the impacts of COVID-19 containment and the 2020 wildfire season.

Program objectives include:

  • Provide needed capacity to Colorado tourism partners during crisis
  • Test innovative tourism strategies to respond to a crisis
  • Build awareness of successful recovery efforts across Colorado

Although the initial delivery of the CRAFT Recovery Mentor program was developed in response to COVID-19 and the 2020 wildfire season, this program will be available to the Colorado tourism industry in the future to address any crises that require an immediate response.

October 2020 to June 2021 Projects

The following destinations or industry associations received CRAFT Recovery Mentor. Each project focused on one or more of the below strategies:

  • Encouraging responsible visitation
  • Championing the value of tourism
  • Developing or enhancing tourism products
  • Marketing local tourism opportunities

The Canyons and Plains Regional Heritage Task Force developed a content marketing plan to collaboratively promote and celebrate the bicentennial of the Santa Fe Trail in 2021.

The Chaffee County Visitors Bureau encouraged responsible visitation by developing a framework for building awareness and adoption of its Adventure By Nature pledge, a new campaign that invites Chaffee County visitors to reduce impacts on public lands and increase the economic benefit of tourism throughout the county. 

The Clear Creek County Tourism Board developed new itineraries that aligned with current industry trends and can be adapted for different promotional opportunities throughout the year.

Custer County and the Custer County Tourism Board Advocacy Committee developed an Advocacy and Community Engagement plan to champion the value of tourism locally.

Huerfano County encouraged responsible visitation by engaging local stakeholders to identify priority public land impacts that can be mitigated through strategic messaging and creating a plan to collaboratively distribute messages to build awareness of ways to reduce those impacts throughout the year. 

The Lake County Tourism Panel encouraged responsible visitation by engaging local stakeholders to identify priority public land impacts that can be mitigated through strategic messaging and creating a plan to collaboratively distribute messages to build awareness of ways to reduce those impacts throughout the year. 

The Moffat County Tourism Association worked to champion the value of tourism and outdoor recreation locally and build the case for continued investment in tourism management, outdoor recreation management, and enhanced visitor services.

The Pioneering Plains developed a content marketing plan that helped tourism partners across the travel region collaboratively implement marketing strategies that build their reputation with birders, the niche audience that was identified for the travel region in spring 2020 by the CTO. 

The Poudre Heritage Alliance built awareness of the Cache La Poudre National Heritage Area (CALA) as a tourism destination with industry partners and created a roadmap for diversifying revenue opportunities by developing new tour product in partnership with local operators.

The Ridgway Area Chamber of Commerce compiled a collection of winter-focused content that could be adapted for a variety of purposes, including marketing to potential visitors, messaging to visitors while in Ridgway, and messaging to local business owners and community members to support a Shop Local campaign.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association encouraged responsible visitation by designing and implementing visitor management solutions for the busy Buffalo Pass recreation area during the 2020/21 winter travel season.

The Town of Lyons identified timely winter assets and tourism experiences within Lyons to create marketing collateral that inspires visitation throughout the winter and into spring.

The Town of Palisade developed an inventory of priority visitor routes to support promotion of scenic drives and bicycle rides focused on driving visitor spending at Palisade businesses.

CRAFT

About CRAFT

The Colorado Tourism Office developed CRAFT to support communities across the state integrate tourism into their economic development strategies and develop new visitor experiences aimed at attracting increased traveler spending.