The Colorado Tourism Office Launches Colorado Tourism Roadmap; New Strategic Plan Aims at Building the Industry’s Competitive Advantage

The Colorado Tourism Office Launches Colorado Tourism Roadmap; New Strategic Plan Aims at Building the Industry’s Competitive Advantage

Denver, CO (March 15, 2017) – The Colorado Tourism Board today approved the Colorado Tourism Roadmap, a comprehensive strategic plan to build the Colorado tourism industry’s competitive advantage through closer collaboration, creation of new traveler experiences across the state and a fresh focus on sustainable tourism.

Ten months in the making and led by the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO), the 24-page Roadmap incorporates the voices of more than 1,000 tourism industry professionals, elected leaders and Coloradans who took part last year in 20-plus listening sessions throughout the state. The plan also was shaped by a deep dive into the CTO’s existing research as well as a new study by the National Laboratory for Tourism and e-Commerce (NLTeC) in Gainesville, Fla. 

“While much of the Roadmap’s thinking is focused on the future, it’s also structured to deliver some near-term wins,” said CTO Director Cathy Ritter. “Our goal in creating the Roadmap is to build the potential of the entire Colorado tourism industry by creating conditions that drive the right kind of growth, with maximum benefit and minimum impact.”

Prepared by a tourism consulting partnership that included the Nichols Tourism Group, the Radcliffe Company and the NLTeC, the Roadmap reports that Colorado has gained stature as one of the very top western U.S. destinations, with traveler spending increasing at nearly twice the national average since 2009.

 “This plan identifies several new opportunities for our state to generate even more economic and lifestyle benefits from tourism,” said Matt Skinner of Telluride, chair of the Colorado Tourism Board and chief operating officer of Colorado Flights Alliance. “As we continue to grow and push forward with our new and established programs, it's critical that Colorado maintain a level of funding commensurate with tourism's contribution to the state economy and our competitive set."

A new Image and Perception Study fielded to 1,930 experienced travelers across the U.S. last year found that Colorado’s top competitors for long-haul travel are California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and New York. A different picture emerges for travelers living in Colorado and its border states, with the list of competitors shifting slightly to California, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona.

Roadmap research strongly endorsed the success of Colorado’s “Come To Life” marketing campaign in creating strong economic impact through a shift to targeting the national traveler.

With national travelers more likely to visit the state’s best-known destinations, however, the Roadmap also recommends a collection of strategies to increase traveler spending in less-visited parts of Colorado, driving more economic impact particularly in the state’s more rural areas.

The Roadmap creates clear guidance for the state’s tourism industry with the development of mission and vision statements supported by four foundational pillars – Compete, Create, Steward and Advocate.

Although the Compete pillar stakes out the most familiar ground, it charts new directions for marketing through a strong focus on collaboration, whether through sharing of web-based intelligence or creation of new regionally based marketing platforms.

Fresh ground is broken with both the Create and Steward pillars. The Create pillar expands the traditional role of tourism marketers to create new traveler experiences, like the highly successful new Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop, that drive increased visitor spending.

With the Steward pillar, Colorado joins a handful of other states in listing sustainable tourism as a key goal. Inspired by concerns shared at listening sessions across the state last year, the Steward pillar aims at guiding travelers in meaningful ways to reduce their impact on precious resources and even help protect those resources through “voluntourism” or giving back to the state while they are here. 

The fourth pillar, Advocate, speaks to the importance of industry partners unifying to support the success of a tourism industry that generated $19.1 billion in economic impact in 2015, including $1.13 billion in state and local taxes, and fuels nearly one in 10 Colorado jobs.

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Media Contacts: Carly Holbrook, [email protected], 720-289-9366
                          Kirstin Graber, [email protected], 303-892-3871






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