Vail Valley: Economic recovery through tourism | VailDaily.com

Vail Valley: Economic recovery through tourism

Chris Romer
Vail, CO, Colorado

Economic recovery via tourism

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Vail Valley Partnership bug – Romer mug

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Let’s place travel and tourism at the forefront of Eagle County’s economic recovery.

Economic conditions have changed consumption and spending patterns. Transportation costs continue to rise, and the efforts of airlines to squeeze more dollars out of each passenger (among other factors) contribute to the conclusion that recovery will be a slow, painful process – and that things will never again be quite as they were before.

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We certainly face a variety of challenges: The strength of the dollar vs. other currencies, housing foreclosures, global economic pressures, unemployment and the (lack of a strong) pipeline of major construction/development projects.

That said, there is some good news: the latest Vail and Beaver Creek lodging reports show signs of increasing occupancies; summer flight load factors to the Eagle County Airport are trending positive; sales tax collections are trending up (although slowly); national skier days were strong last winter and the number of special events and festivals throughout Eagle County add a vibrancy and sense of energy for locals and guests alike.

The Colorado Tourism Office economic report shows that travel for both outdoors and special events increased in 2009. Eagle County is well positioned to capture market share and increase visitation (due in part to leadership from Vail Resorts, the Vail Valley Foundation and our local municipalities among many others). To bring special events to the Valley. We are fortunate to have both public and private investment in signature summer events including the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, the Teva Mountain Games, Birds of Prey Downhill and Spring Back to Vail.

While we need to recognize the economic challenges, it’s equally important to build off the good news. As a business community, we can’t sit back and wring our hands and say, “woe is me” while waiting for a knight in shining armor to save us. Now is the time for business, government and all entities involved in tourism need to work together to address problems and present solutions to our economic recovery via travel and tourism.

The Vail Valley Partnership is here to assist and help our members to market their businesses to both locals and guests via website exposure, social media channels, website presence, e-mail confirmations, publications including the Vail Valley 365, the Official Visitor’s Guide and the Vail Valley Wedding Guide. The Partnership is also actively soliciting a variety of special events and participatory sporting tournaments designed to utilize our infrastructure and increase our lodging occupancies throughout the valley.

The Vail Valley Partnership is also a conduit for our members to regional organizations including the Colorado Tourism Office, the Colorado Association of Destination Marketing Organizations, the Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association and other industry groups to ensure that our collective voice is heard.

Let’s resist the temptation to cut marketing budgets and instead view our marketing as an investment in tourism, which can help lead our economic recovery. At the end of the day, tourism = jobs = economic recovery.

Join the Vail Valley Partnership for our upcoming Vail Valley Business Forum July 29 at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek to hear from our expert panel on the “New Economy” and how Vail Valley businesses can adjust and succeed. RSVP to Jennifer Weintraub at 970-477-4001.

Chris Romer is the director of the Vail Valley Partnership.