CTO’s Conference in Vail first in the nation to be zero-waste; Denver named as 2019 site
DENVER, CO, 2018-Nov-06 — /Travel PR News/ — Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the launch of a new state app with guidance to more than 39,000 miles of trails as nearly 550 tourism industry stakeholders gathered this week in Vail for the annual Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference.
Embracing a theme of “COmmitted” in the town recently named the Most Sustainable Mountain Destination on earth, the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) this year worked with Walking Mountains Science Center and Hotel Talisa to structure the event as the first zero-waste state tourism conference in the nation. Efforts ranged from conservation and reuse of materials to composting of food waste.
“Once again, Colorado and its tourism industry are setting the pace for creating new traveler options, while taking real steps to protect what makes our destination such an extraordinary place to visit,” said CTO Director Cathy Ritter.
The Colorado Trail Explorer (COTREX) app puts data for 39,158 miles of trail and 1,431 trailheads in the hands of users and is now available for free download in the Apple and Google Play stores. A facet of the “Colorado the Beautiful” initiative, the COTREX app makes it easier than ever for Coloradans and visitors alike to access the state’s trailheads and open space.
The three-day conference, co-sponsored by the Vail Valley Partnership, also featured keynotes from international destination marketing expert William Bakker and famed community activist and artist Candy Chang. A conference highlight was a moving presentation on crisis management lessons learned from the Mandalay Bay shooting in Las Vegas to erupting volcanoes and fake air raids in Hawaii. In that panel, Travel Weekly Editor-in-Chief Arnie Weissmann gained insights from both Cathy Tull, CMO of the Las Vegas Convention and Tourism Authority, and Charlene Chan, Communications Director for the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
The CTO’s annual educational and networking event also included a lineup of nearly 20 breakout sessions and learning labs with insights into Google Analytics, creating a bicycle tourism destination, ski industry trends, Western-style hospitality and more. Most of the conference educational content was recorded and will be made available to industry members.
“The tourism industry in Colorado impacts every corner of the state,” said Andrea Fulton, chair of the Colorado Tourism Board and Chief Marketing Officer of the Denver Art Museum. “We’re thrilled to see 549 individuals come together to connect, collaborate and learn how we can continue to strengthen the sector to the benefit of our communities.”
The conference also provided a stage for the graduation of the first 17 participants in the Colorado Tourism Leadership Journey, the CTO’s executive training program for the tourism industry. Conference attendees also were introduced to the 20 members of the incoming Class of 2019.
Even more industry members were honored at the annual awards dinner on Tuesday:
-Former Colorado Tourism Board Vice Chair and eight-year member Ian Steyn of Larkspur was presented with the Chairman’s Award. In recognition of his extraordinary commitment to Colorado tourism in Colorado, Fulton honored him for championing the outdoors and serving as a personal and professional mentor to so many.
-VISIT DENVER was honored with the Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative Award for its statewide partnership in serving as host city for the U.S. Travel Association’s annual IPW tradeshow. Held in the Colorado Convention Center in May, IPW brought 6,028 international travel trade and media together in an event that will generate nearly $5 billion in U.S. travel business and economic benefits for Denver and Colorado for years to come.
-Both Gary Schluter, founder of Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours, and Allison Scott, Director of Communications for The Broadmoor, shared the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Individual Contribution to Colorado Tourism. It was the first time for the award to be shared by two honorees.
-Visit Loveland Colorado won the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Marketing Program for creating “Sharing the Love of Valentine Season,” a campaign to boost interest during a traditionally low-visitation season.
-Cy Michaels, owner of La Quinta in Trinidad and chair of the Trinidad Tourism Board, was given the Jack Snow Volunteer Award in recognition of her extensive work to benefit her home community.
As the conference closed, the CTO announced Denver as the host city of the Governor’s 2019 Colorado Tourism Conference. The conference will be held at the downtown Sheraton Hotel from Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2018.
About the Colorado Tourism Office:
The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) is a division of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The CTO’s mission is to generate traveler spending by promotion of Colorado as a four-season, four-corner, world-class travel destination and development of compelling, sustainable travel experiences. In 2017, Colorado travelers spent $20.9 billion, generating $1.28 billion in local and state revenues, reducing the tax burden for every Coloradan by $228. Tourism is the state’s second largest employer, directly supporting 171,000 jobs. For more information, please visit https://industry.colorado.com.
Source: Colorado Tourism Office