CRAFT rural tourism development program launched in Colorado

School of Community Resources and Development

Center for Sustainable Tourism

January 25, 2018 - ASU's Center for Sustainable Tourism and Colorado-based Mountain Roots Consulting were selected by the Colorado Tourism Office in late 2017 to design and lead workshops and online toolkits to assist Colorado rural communities in identifying and capitalizing upon their region's unique tourism assets. This program has been named "CRAFT", Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism. The application period for communities opened on January 25th. 

The Colorado Tourism Office shared the following statement about the CRAFT program:

Founded in 2018 by the Colorado Tourism Office, CRAFT offers training and support for rural economic development through creation and branding of new or enhanced traveler experiences. Within CRAFT, opportunities for training and implementation funding will be available for rural tourism partners at any stage of their tourism development. Opportunities include CRAFT Studio 101, CRAFT Studio 201 (formerly Tourism Promotion & Development Blueprint 2.0 Initiative), CRAFT Mentor (formerly CHAMP) and CRAFT Workshops.

As part of a 14-week educational program, selected communities will gain knowledge on rural tourism, visitor readiness, tourism entrepreneurship, marketing and social media, cultural and heritage tourism, agritourism, outdoor-adventure tourism, cycling tourism and sustainable tourism. Throughout this program, selected communities will be required to participate in six in-person training sessions and complete online training. Selected communities will also be required to work on a tourism-related group project.

Short-term value delivered to selected community

  • Participants have new awareness and knowledge of tourism development opportunities and resources
  • New connections made across diverse sectors in the community, including deeper relationships established between state and regional tourism-development organizations and local players 

  • Clear written vision, measurable goals and strategy in place that reflects market opportunities, community assets and values 

Long-term outcomes for selected community 

  • New tourism product development to expand seasons, length of stay, range of activities and visitation as appropriate for region
  • Economic development impact — observable changes in visitor volume, patterns of visitation and visitor spending
  • Local tourism leaders emerge from CRAFT Studio 101 and continue to advance program vision and work plan
  • Increased integration of tourism planning with other community and regional stakeholders 

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