Vail Daily column: Colorado Tourism Office — and why it matters |

Vail Daily column: Colorado Tourism Office — and why it matters

The Colorado Tourism Office receives an annual appropriation of approximately $15 million to promote Colorado to potential tourists through domestic and international advertising, marketing and public relations, the Official State Vacation Guide, the Official State Map, and via visitor services at state Welcome Centers.

Dean Runyon Associates research shows that the impacts of tourism on Colorado are growing; total visitor spending was more than $15.9 billion in 2011, an increase of 9.2 percent over 2010 which resulted in $879 million in in-state and local taxes created. Equally important is that more than 141,000 jobs with earnings of $4.1 billion (wages and salaries) were generated by visitor spending.

We know that our continued economic success is directly tied to tourism in Colorado, as tourism and outdoor recreation is our top industry and top economic driver in Eagle County. Dean Runyon Associates research shows that Eagle County in 2012 was the beneficiary of $869.1 million in overnight visitor spending (up 9.6 percent from 2011) resulting in 6,800 jobs (up 3 percent) and $33 million in local taxes (up 10.4 percent).

The employment and job numbers jump significantly when ancillary industries that are dependent on tourism are included; retail, accommodations/food service and arts and entertainment make up more than 15,000 jobs in Eagle County (more than 1⁄3 of our total employment of 42,100). On a micro level, Eagle County’s strongest job growth sector since 2002 is in hotels.

That’s a lot of data supporting tourism as a driver of our economy. And as noted, we know that already. So how do the efforts of the Colorado Tourism Office impact us?

The Colorado Tourism Office is dedicated to promoting the state as a destination through their efforts of driving traffic to and/or fulfillment via the Official State Vacation Guide. In turn, it is our job locally to ensure that our area is spotlighted to take advantage of the state’s promotion.

The Vail Valley Partnership is proud to participate as the sponsor of the Vail/Beaver Creek co-op section of the state vacation guide, dedicated to promoting the Vail Valley as a destination for visitors and ensuring our members a presence in this fulfillment piece, the Official State Vacation Guide. Participants are also spotlighted in the virtual guide on

Lodging properties have the ability (via the CTO’s partnership with BookDirect) to have their inventory sold direct to guests at no charge (really: no commissions, no fees) on Additionally, every tourism-related business in the state of Colorado is entitled to a free business or event listing on Web listings include descriptions and a photo, and event listings include up to six photographs.

It’s worth repeating: Our local tourism industry can participate in these programs at no cost.

As the Colorado Tourism Office continues to promote the state of Colorado, it is up to individual destinations, communities, businesses and event promoters to utilize the tools provided to grow our market share and to leverage the states efforts by taking advantage of these free marketing opportunities.

We invite you to learn more about Colorado’s tourism efforts and how you can participate at the Partnership’s upcoming educational program, “The State of the American Traveler and Measuring Metrics that Matter,” on Aug. 13 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek.

Join guest speaker Carrie R. Koenig, vice president of sales for Miles-Marketing Destinations (a partner of the Colorado Tourism Office), to gain insight into the travel-planning funnel from the top down, starting with how American travelers are navigating the fractured media landscape in the research and planning phase. Attendees will also learn best practices for driving conversion by creating and optimizing effective messaging and landing pages and how to focus on measuring “Metrics that Matter” aimed at improving the ROI of your campaigns across all channels.

Learn about the tools that the American traveler uses to plan their vacation and how your constituents can measure with all the different tools that are available to them, including free and paid opportunities with the Colorado Tourism Office.

Chris Romer is the president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.

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