Towns of Eagle, Gypsum mull combining efforts to attract tourism dollars
GYPSUM — Tourism is huge business in Colorado — to the tune of $1.13 billion in sales tax revenue for the state in 2016.
And even though they are small players in a valley that’s home to some of the biggest tourist dollar generators in Colorado, Eagle and Gypsum want to maximize their tourist collections. To do that, the communities believe they will get further by working together.
Tuesday morning, the towns teamed up for a special event designed to teach Eagle and Gypsum businesses more about the state’s tourism landscape and reinforce a new downvalley partnership. Hosted by the two towns, as well as their respective chambers of commerce, the session held at the Eagle County Regional Airport featured a presentation from Andrea Kuskie about the efforts by and opportunities with the Colorado Tourism Office.
Kuskie noted Colorado has become the fifth most popular state for tourism in the nation. With that high level of interest, she said the Colorado Tourism Office has a multi-level marketing program that includes everything from website and social media efforts to printed visitor guides and staffed welcome centers. She described today’s Colorado visitors as “hyper informed travelers” who will cull information from numerous sources as they plan their trips. For a business or community hoping to make an impression with these potential tourists, and the money they spend, one-shot marketing likely won’t work, Kuskie said.
“Basically this means you need to be in all places,” she said.
That’s a difficult chore for small businesses, but Kuskie also stressed the state welcomes content submissions from communities as it populates its website and compiles its printed guides.
“People want to get off the beaten path,” Kuskie said. “They are looking to you for content.”
From Eagle’s backcountry trails system, which has started to gain statewide and even national notice, to Gypsum’s plan to build a motocross park north of town, the two communities are looking at ways their different recreation options can compliment each other.
“I think everyone knows that the town of Gypsum and the town of Eagle have different options and have different characters,” said Jeremy Rietmann, Gypsum economic development director. “Together, we should have pretty well-rounded options of recreational opportunities that we haven’t had here before.”
To illustrate that point, Eagle representatives updated the crowd about the town’s river park and Abrams Creek trail projects, along with offering information about events such as this weekend’s Bonfire Block Party and Eagle Outside Festival, as well as Eagle Flight Days, planned June 23 and 24. Gypsum representatives talked about a trail-planning effort under way in the community that includes not only the motocross park but also a new trail network in the Hardscrabble area. That goal of that new network is to provide a backcountry connection between the two towns. They also shared about the Gypsum Daze event, which begins July 9 and will conclude with a July 15 concert featuring Gary Allan.
With so much to do between the two towns, the various representatives stressed Eagle and Gypsum can offer the “off the beaten path” experience that tourists say they want.
“As our communities have grown, we have realized we have a lot more in common,” Rietmann said. “By collaborating, both our towns can improve and grow.”