Inside the Chamber column: Understanding the power of travel promotion

As a citizen of Glenwood Springs or the surrounding area you may wonder how all those tourists could possibly benefit you. That is unless you own or work for a hospitality business, in which case you know too well the benefit of the visitor dollar versus the deficit of its absence. In a tourism community/area like ours it could be easy to rest on our laurels, cut back on advertising and hope for the best, but history has proven that tactic is not in the best interest of business or of the area as a whole.

The Colorado Tourism Office recently released compelling tourism research for the state. Cathy Ritter, state tourism director wrote, 'Amidst all the wonderful news this summer from the CTO's latest research was a finding that should stand as a fresh caution against tourism-budget cuts everywhere. Deep inside its yearly report of Colorado travel trends, Longwoods International noted that, for the first time since 1994, Colorado finally reached and exceeded the national share of discretionary travelers in 2015 that it held before the complete loss of state tourism spending. In other words, by an important and impartial measure, it took the Colorado tourism industry 21 years to recover from the devastating elimination of the state's $12 million tourism promotion budget.'

A study released Aug. 28, 2016, by the U.S. Travel Association cites how cuts in travel-promotion spending trigger not only loss of visitors, but also subsequent reductions in travel-related jobs, tax revenues and business income. The study, titled 'Power of Travel Promotion 3.0 (What Destination Marketing Means to Communities Nationwide),' goes on to explain how competitive the global marketplace has become and how integral investment in branding and effective travel promotion is for destinations to remain relevant. Without investing in promotion to attract new visitors, a community like Glenwood Springs could lose crucial tax revenue to support essential services.

Government officials often talk about economic development and the need for attracting new businesses in an effort to create jobs and strengthen tax streams. The single most effective economic driver in Glenwood Springs is tourism. Travelers visiting our community spend money on attractions, lodging, retail, restaurants and transportation. Investing in destination marketing helps drive economic growth, creates jobs and generates much-needed tax revenue, thus providing essential support to state and local government.

Without our tourists, Glenwood Springs would not have the level of services it currently enjoys. The visitor dollar helps pay for trails, parks, roads, schools, public transportation and emergency services. The local population would be hard pressed to support the many restaurants and large retailers we have in the area, not to mention the amazing recreational opportunities and attractions we tend to take for granted.

So next time you get frustrated with a line at the local gas station, restaurant or attraction, please take a deep breath and remember that tourists contribute to the quality of life we all enjoy here in Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork and Grand valleys.

In the spirit of patience and understanding, I'll leave you with this quote from Pulitzer prize winning American novelist Edith Wharton: 'One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.'

Full article here.

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