Colorado CRAFT

Building interconnectivity between the Colorado Tourism Office and specific destination-based tourism champions and stakeholders

  • Client: Colorado Tourism Office
  • Partners: Regional destinations throughout Colorado
  • Project Duration: July 2021 - June 2022

Overview 

The Colorado Recovery Assistance For Tourism program is a series of recovery programs that support Colorado tourism destinations and Colorado tourism industry associations implement collaborative projects that advance recommendations from the Colorado Tourism Roadmap to Recovery through 2023.

This program is funded by a $2.4 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
This program includes three categories:

  • Restart Destinations
  • Restart Industry Associations
  • Reimagine Destinations

These new recovery programs are modeled off of the Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) and include a combination of community visioning and action planning workshops, free consulting from tourism experts, and access to funding to implement tourism projects. CRAFT programs are customized to meet the needs and objectives of local participants, with the goal of attracting new forms of visitation, enhancing local tourism offerings, conserving cultural and natural assets, and improving residential quality of life.

About the Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT)
As a result of the ongoing impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, we expanded the target audience for CRAFT programs to include tourism partners from all areas in Colorado, whether they are urban or rural, and refined the program language to stand for the Colorado Recovery Assistance For Tourism through the period of the CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant.

The Colorado Rural Academy For Tourism (CRAFT) helps communities integrate tourism into their economic development strategies through four programs. By participating in these programs, communities develop new visitor experiences to increase traveler spending. Focusing on cultural tourism, culinary and agritourism, outdoor recreation, tourism marketing and visitor management, CRAFT helps rural tourism partners to:

  • Increase collaboration between diverse stakeholders within a destination to build relationships and trust
  • Engage in group discussions about the changes you want to see in your destination
  • Identify short, medium, and long term strategies to realize this change
  • Prioritize short term strategies and develop collaborative work plans to implement them

Major Activities 

  • Researching and understanding CRAFT mission and Restart Destinations Program in order to facilitate 28 community visioning and action planning workshops
  • Kickoff calls, core team meeting gatherings, and weekly review meetings to ensure intra-community communication lines are open and candid
  • Development of resident sentiment surveys, tourism stakeholder surveys, and visitor profile studies for each of the 28 destinations participating in the Restart Destinations Program
  • Buildout of folder system inside Google Drive in order to build a foundation for all future CRAFT Restart Destination programming and documents
  • Organizing workshop production schedule and facilitator scheduling
  • Aiding in the facilitation of workshops and presenting the findings of the Colorado Roadmap to Recovery

Anticipated Results 
CRAFT Workshop goals include:

  • Creating interconnectivity between the Colorado Roadmap to Recovery and destination specific tourism challenges/goals
  • Convening diverse stakeholders in a destination to build relationships and trust to increase collaboration
  • Engaging in group discussions about how to develop or enhance a specific tourism product within the destination
  • Identifying short, medium and long term strategies to advance the tourism product
  • Prioritizing short term strategies and develop collaborative work plans to implement them

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