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Colorado Tourism Office, Leave No Trace Mark National Public Lands Day and Announce New Strategic Partnerships

Ski towns, Colorado Mountain Club and top destinations join alliance to share 
Care for Colorado Principles with millions more Colorado travelers 

Denver, Colo. – Saturday, Sept. 28 – In a bow to National Public Lands Day, the Colorado Tourism Office and Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics today announced strategic partnerships with three major statewide organizations to educate millions more travelers about reducing their impact on Colorado’s special places.

Joining a growing alliance to promote responsible travel are the Colorado Association of Ski Towns (CAST), the Colorado Mountain Club and the Colorado Association of Destination Marketing Organizations (CADMO). As strategic partners, each organization agrees to share the Care for Colorado Principles developed by the CTO and Leave No Trace. 

“In Colorado, we love our public lands and we love sharing them with everyone who visits our great state. We must protect our great outdoor spaces and make decisions that ensure their long-term vitality,” said State Senator Kerry Donovan. “I am proud that Colorado always seeks to find the balance between promoting and protecting the places we love and today is a perfect example of that commitment.” Donovan, a member of the Colorado Tourism Board, led an effort in 2016 to designate the third Saturday in May as Colorado Public Lands Day.

“Inspiring people to care for Colorado – whether they’re traveling an hour from home or from a far-distant destination – is one of the best ways we can protect the sustainability of an industry so vital to our economy,” said CTO Director Cathy Ritter. “By uniting around a consistent message to travelers to “Care for Colorado,’ we can raise  awareness of the simple things anyone can do to protect what makes our state such a special place to visit.”

The Colorado Tourism Office became the first state organization to forge a strategic partnership with Leave No Trace in October 2017 and introduced the jointly created Care for Colorado Principles in May 2018. Since then, the CTO has shared the Care for Colorado Principles with millions of travelers through an “Are You Colo-Ready?” brochure, an animated video, in Colorado Welcome Centers, in the annual vacation guide, social channels and on Colorado.com.

A recent study shows that a year after the program was introduced and with no paid advertising, 28 percent of Colorado adults recognized the Care for Colorado Principles. Of those who weren’t aware of the program, 71 percent approved when it was explained to them.

“Never has it been more important to bring Leave No Trace education to people in Colorado, both to visitors and residents alike, as more people seek to experience the state’s unparalleled natural lands,” said Dana Watts, executive director of Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. “The Care for Colorado principles are relevant and timely and we are thrilled that these new partnerships will help deliver them to diverse visitors all around the state.”

CTO and Leave No Trace in January welcomed its first strategic partners -- the Colorado Hotel & Lodging Association, the Colorado River Outfitters Association and the Colorado Dude & Guest Ranch Association, Those organizations in turn extended access to CTO messaging and Leave No Trace training to all of their members.

The alliance between the CTO and Leave No Trace stemmed from a stewardship initiative outlined in the Colorado Tourism Roadmap, a strategic plan to build the Colorado tourism industry’s competitive advantage. To learn more about the CTO’s work to support responsible tourism in Colorado, please visit https://industry.colorado.com/responsible-tourism

CTO research is showing more travelers are saying a destination’s sustainability practices are important to their choice of destinations. In summer 2018, 20 percent of Colorado travelers said a destination’s commitment to sustainability was very important, up from 15 percent a year earlier.

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About the Colorado Tourism Office: The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) is a division of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The CTO’s mission is to generate traveler spending by promotion of Colorado as a four-season, four-corner, world-class travel destination and development of compelling, sustainable travel experiences throughout the state. In 2018, Colorado travelers spent $22.3 billion, generating $1.37 billion in local and state revenues, reducing the tax burden for every Colorado household by $659. Tourism is the state’s second largest employer, directly supporting 174,400 jobs. For more information, please visit https://industry.colorado.com.