Colorado mountain towns say they can’t handle any more tourists amid labor, housing crises |

Colorado mountain towns say they can’t handle any more tourists amid labor, housing crises

Colorado tourism cheerleaders hasten their transition from destination marketing to management as resort town locals call for more housing and less promotion

Jason Blevins
The Colorado Sun
Visitors to Crested Butte patronize restaurants and businesses along Elk Avenue with "Help Wanted" signs posted in the windows and doors on June 19, 2021.
Dean Krakel/Special to The Colorado Sun

Crested Butte has pulled its summer ads as businesses struggle to accommodate crowds. A Telluride councilwoman wants to redirect tourism funding toward housing. The Colorado Tourism Office is without a leader. Chaffee County commissioners rejected a 20,000-person annual music festival.

Angst over tourism is growing as mountain communities emerge from crowd-restricting pandemic closures. Overlapping waves of visitors and new residents are amplifying an unprecedented labor shortage and housing crunch. And with that seasonal distress comes a growing call to silence the statewide promotion of Colorado as a vacation wonderland.

“It’s a carrying capacity issue,” said Geneva Shaunette, a Telluride town council member who wants to redirect $2 million a year to workforce housing from tourism-campaign spending. “With the drastic situation we are experiencing with housing and a lack of employees we simply cannot handle that many people. We need to ease off the gas of marketing. Telluride already is on the map. The whole ‘Come to Telluride because how great it is,’ we physically can’t handle that anymore. And we have many better and more important things to spend our money on.”

Tourism is in the crosshairs in mountain towns in Colorado while state economic development champions are offering a total of $10 million to organizers who bring groups and events to the state.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism