CTO Overview & FAQ

CTO Overview & FAQ

The Office of Economic Development & International Trade -- Colorado Tourism Office (CTO)

The CTO receives an annual appropriation of approximately $20 million to promote Colorado to potential tourists through a domestic and international advertising, marketing and public relations campaign, the Official State Vacation Guide and Official State Map, www.Colorado.com and by providing traveler services at state Welcome Centers.

Marketing & Advertising

Domestic Markets

The CTO has developed a targeted and strategic national, regional and in-state domestic advertising campaign, marketing to travelers through broadcast, print and online media. The purpose of the campaign is to inspire potential visitors to take a vacation in Colorado by driving them to www.Colorado.com and 1-800-Colorado. The CTO has implemented a four-season, integrated marketing message. Every year, a marketing plan is developed with outlined media objectives, strategies and target audiences.

International Markets

The CTO’s International Program markets the state to international visitors through trade, consumer and media relations. The program’s goal is to attract a steady increase of international visitors to Colorado to experience the state’s year-round travel product. The CTO currently has international marketing representatives in Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Japan to market travel and tourism. Other targeted markets include Mexico and Canada.

Marketing Grant Program

For every dollar an organization dedicates to this effort, the CTO will provide one dollar in matching funds, up to $15,000. A total of 32 grants were distributed in FY 2010 and $200,000 has been allocated again this year.

Public Relations Program

  • Goal is to generate positive publicity as a premiere, four-season travel destination with diverse attractions and experiences
  • Pro-active media relations tactics, including an integrated approach, working collaboratively with the advertising campaign.
  • Media and international tour operator familiarization trips hosted in Colorado
  • Targeting national, regional and in-state media
  • Media events and targeted consumer travel show program & participation opportunities

Official Colorado Communications & Information Services

  • The Official State Vacation Guide (OSVG)
  • 1-800-Colorado
  • www.colorado.com
  • Official State Map
  • Opt-in Consumer e-Newsletters
  • Colorado Welcome Centers

The Official State Vacation Guide (OSVG) provides valuable travel information to inspire and help tourists plan their trips to Colorado. In 2008, 800,000 OSVGs were printed and are being distributed through the 1-800-Colorado call center, Colorado.com website, welcome and visitor centers, travel and trade shows, etc. Colorado.com further promotes the Colorado brand and provides comprehensive tourist information on what to see and do year-round while in the state. The website provides planning tools, along with added inspiration to book a Colorado vacation. The CTO and the Colorado Department of Transportation collaborate on the official state map – the map has proven to be one of the most used travel-planning tools the CTO produces. Another marketing initiative is the e-CRM program that distributes electronic consumer newsletters featuring exciting Colorado activities and destinations to an opt-in email address database. An integral part of the Colorado Tourism Office promotional efforts is the operation of a network of tourist information centers or “Welcome Centers.” Currently, there are 10 facilities, strategically located at high-volume entry points into the state. The Welcome Centers greet 1 million visitors a year and utilize approximately 500 citizens of Colorado who volunteer their time to assist travelers stopping at the centers.

CTO Co-op Marketing Program

Maximizing the Tourism Industry’s Marketing Budgets The co-op marketing program leverages state marketing dollars so that the tourism industry’s marketing dollars can go farther. Industry partners are presented the opportunity to “piggy-back” on CTO-sponsored marketing programs at greatly discounted rates. The co-op program provides:

  • Strategic, discounted broadcast, print and online media programs
  • Diverse media offerings, reaching multiple target audiences
  • Cost-efficient pricing to meet industry budgets
  • Many programs are supported by editorial and CTO ads
  • Opportunities available to leverage off of the CTO’s marketing efforts, including advertising and exposure at domestic and international travel trade shows, Welcome Centers, as well as in the Official State Visitor Guide and on Colorado.com
  • More co-op partnering means more consumer exposure for everyone concerned with promoting travel to Colorado, thereby creating the best-case scenario for increasing tourism to the state of Colorado
Media Advertising Opportunities Magazine special sections Magazine travel planners Magazine master contract rates Online media discount program Newspaper Inserts Radio broadcast opportunities Other Advertising Opportunities Official State Vacation Guide Official State Website – Colorado.com Consumer e-Newsletter Domestic consumer travel show opportunities International trade shows, sales mission & brochure distribution Welcome Center Back-lit Display Advertisements

Heritage Tourism Program

In partnership with the Colorado Historical Society, the CTO developed the Heritage Tourism Program to promote the state’s rich cultural heritage, including providing grants to develop and market heritage products around the state, enhanced materials online and a concentrated marketing effort. The CTO, State Historical Fund and Colorado Department of Transportation produced a Scenic and Historic Byways Program featuring the State’s 25 scenic drives. The CTO promotes strategy, research, marketing, and manages grant opportunities from the State Historical Fund.

Industry Relations & Outreach

The CTO has an Industry Outreach Program designed to communicate with Colorado’s tourism industry to maximize the support needed to grow tourism businesses, attractions and destinations. A large portion of the CTO industry relations involves communicating with chambers, convention and visitors bureaus and tourism-related businesses throughout the state and disbursing leads and opportunities related to media and travel trade. Relevant travel and tourism research, advertising opportunities, marketing plans and other tourism programs are shared with the industry and featured on the Colorado.com Industry Partners page dedicated to industry members.

The annual Governor’s Tourism Conference brings industry members together to discuss the challenges and opportunities for one of Colorado’s most important economic sectors. This event provides a forum for Colorado businesses, destinations and attractions to share information on the state of the industry and explore ways to strengthen it. Each year, this event is held in different locations throughout Colorado. Attendance has grown substantially since the CTO took over organizing the conference in 2001.

Research Programs

The CTO commissions research projects every year to measure the success of its promotional efforts and to identify the impact of tourism on the state’s economy. Longwoods International provides valuable information to the CTO by identifying visitor profiles to use in the marketing campaign planning process and measuring the return on investment of the CTO’s advertising campaign. Further, the Quarterly Travel and Tourism Indicator serves as a travel activity tracking tool. Other research includes identifying the economic impact of tourism and studying international travel impacts on Colorado.

Impact of Tourism – It Touches Us All

  • One of the largest employers in the state — 200,000 Coloradans
  • Examples of the Tourism Industry:
  • Bed & breakfasts, hotels and dude ranches
  • Ski resorts & private travel attractions
  • Casinos
  • Restaurants & Bars
  • Rafters & Outfitters
  • Museums & Cultural Facilities
  • Private & public campgrounds
  • Farmers and ranchers
  • Gas station/convenience stores
  • Transportation companies
  • Retail shops

Reaching Out — the Colorado Tourism Ambassador Program strives to educate every Colorado citizen about the importance of tourism, and the benefits of a strong tourism industry. There are more than 1,600 Colorado residents signed up as Tourism Ambassadors, with at least one ambassador in every county in the state.

Impact of Tourism Promotional Efforts

  • Colorado welcomed 28 million overnight visitors from domestic U.S. markets in 2007, the fourth consecutive year of growth, representing a 4% increase over 2006
  • Visitors to Colorado spent $9.8 billion in 2007, a 10% increase over 2006
  • Total visitor spending per ad dollar invested equaled $193

Tourism is Big Business

  • Total state and local taxes by Colorado visitors in 2007 was $763 million
  • Colorado had 4.86 million residents in 2007 according to the U.S. Census Bureau
  • This equates to $157 in tax revenue for every Coloradan, or more than $407 per average household
  • Without tourism tax revenue, Coloradans would be paying more taxes of the state would be providing less services (Total tax revenue/Total residents)