Is Tourism Too Important to Cut?

January 2011

Monday happened to be Colorado Tourism Day, and supporters of the industry used the occasion to rally at the state Capitol in the hopes of persuading lawmakers—tasked with cutting more than $1 billion from the state budget—to do their slashing elsewhere. The state's newly appointed director of the Colorado Tourism Office, former state Senator Al White, highlighted what's at stake: "When we invest in tourism, we actually get a leveraged return.… We are running Colorado like a business when we invest a dollar and get $6 back" (via the Denver Post). Although the number of visitors to the state is growing, the tourism office is running on $15 million—$5 million less this year than in prior years. The fear among tourism boosters is that more cuts are ahead, only making the state's economic recovery more difficult.

Meanwhile, the Denver Business Journal notes that former Governor Bill Ritter, local dance icon Cleo Parker Robinson, and retired Colorado Springs convention bureau head Terry Sullivan will be inducted into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame. Westword strolls down memory lane, revisiting the greatest hits and "far greater misses" of the state's tourism marketing. As reporter Michael Roberts points out, the current "A Land Called Colorado" campaign, which you can see at Colorado.com, has replaced the "Let's Talk Colorado" campaign, which included "an embarrassing (and misspelled) lexicon of Colorado terminology and a description of Rocky Mountain oysters that would turn a grammarian's stomach."