COLORADO TOURISM OFFICE REVEALS AGRITOURISM STRATEGIC PLAN AT SOUTHWEST TOURISM SUMMIT

 

Survey findings, goals and objectives outlined in three-year plan for the Agritourism Program

DENVER (April 15, 2013) – The Colorado Tourism Office in partnership with the Colorado Department of Agriculture will release its Agritourism Strategic Plan during the Second Annual Southwest Tourism Summit at 5:30 p.m. on April 25, 2013 at the Durango Discovery Museum in Durango, Colo.

The three-year action plan will detail findings from interactive workshops that were held across Colorado, the timing of upcoming agritourism opportunities, guidelines for agritourism attractions, and objectives for achieving the overall goal of supporting rural economic development in Colorado.

Agritourism is agricultural tourism (i.e., any agricultural operation or activity that has a visitor component.)

“We are excited about partnering with the Department of Agriculture and are proud of the progress we’ve made together for the Agritourism Program,” said Laura Grey, Heritage and Agritourism Program Manager for the Colorado Tourism Office. “The unique collaborative and productive relationship that exists between the Department of Agriculture and the Colorado Tourism Office gives Colorado a competitive advantage over other programs. We look forward to continuing to make huge strides for Colorado’s agritourism industry.”

The Agritourism Program began work with Walden Mills Group in 2012 to conduct interactive workshops statewide with farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders while gathering feedback from industry leaders, elected officials and tourism professionals. The strategic plan incorporates what is currently working well in Colorado and success stories for agritourism businesses in other states.

“Colorado has offered travelers agritourism opportunities for years, but more recently offerings like farmers markets and winery tours have become more firmly established,” said Judy Walden with Walden Mills Group. “These new agritourism products are commanding a healthy price, and are a good fit with what cultural heritage travelers demand - authenticity and quality.”

Highlights from the Agritourism Strategic Plan for the Colorado Tourism Office Include:

·       There has been increased interest from visitors seeking local food and drink to create memorable travel experiences.

·       Agritourism attractions – from farm dinners to ranch stays – have been popping up all over Colorado as farmers and ranchers look to new sources of revenue to diversify their income. 

·       The timing of the Colorado Tourism Office’s promotional spotlight on agritourism opportunities is an excellent match with current consumer demand.

·       Rural economic development objectives include:

o   Highlighting Colorado agritourism businesses that are currently operating;

o   Stimulating the development of fresh and new agritourism experiences for visitors; and

o   Supporting clusters of businesses working together to develop and promote agritourism.

The Agritourism Strategic Plan is a deliverable of the state’s bottom up economic development plan - the Colorado Blueprint – and builds on the momentum of industry partners to support the state’s infrastructure around agritourism, heritage and cultural tourism.

“Agritourism is the next frontier for Colorado agriculture, and the diversity of activities we see rising in all corners of this state is really exciting,” said Dan Hobbs, Hobbs Family Farm. “Agritourism is becoming a very important tool for rural economic development. Farm and ranch families will discover new opportunities to become profitable and develop important new allies.”

New this year at the Southwest Tourism Summit, the Heritage and Agritourism Program will host a special hands-on, roaming work session to explore La Plata County and discuss how to collaboratively grow the agritourism industry in the Southwest travel region. The tour is open to all attendees and will commence at 2 p.m. on April 25 for a visit to ranches, farms, restaurants and more. The Southwest Tourism Summit will be held for the second year in Durango, Colo. from April 24 – 26, 2013. Interested participants can register for the Summit here and RSVP for the strategic plan release by emailing Christine Costello at christine.costello@state.co.us.  

ABOUT COLORADO
Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and 25 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 13 national parks and monuments, and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet. 

For more information or a copy of the 2013 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit www.COLORADO.com or call 1-800-COLORADO. Follow Colorado on TwitterFacebookInstagramPinterestGoogle+FoursquareFlickr and YouTube.

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Contacts:  Roland Alonzi / 646-442-6765, ralonzi@mmgyglobal.com

Carly Holbrook / 720-289-9366, cholbrook@mmgyglobal.com