Carbondale tourism collaborative wins state grant
Carbondale and four other mountain towns are proving that it pays to work together when it comes to promoting tourism.
The Colorado Creative Corridor, which includes Carbondale, Paonia, Crested Butte, Ridgway and Salida, received $25,000 in matching grant funds from the Colorado Tourism Office to promote a 331-mile route through the Western Rockies.
Each of the five towns will contribute $5,000 to the marketing effort, bringing the tourism promotion board’s budget to $50,000.
“We are delighted to receive a second year of funding from the Colorado Tourism Office to fund this initiative which supports rural destinations,” said Andrea Stewart, executive director of Carbondale Chamber of Commerce and Carbondale Tourism. “Tourism is a critical pillar of Carbondale’s economy, and we believe this PR and marketing campaign will help many local businesses thrive thanks to more tourism dollars.”
The Colorado Creative Corridor launched in July 2018 as a collaboration of the tourism boards and chambers of the five towns. The group received the same amount of matching grants from the state a year ago, and the new funds will be used to continue the promotional efforts. That will include content development, website work, paid advertising, promotion of events and distribution of maps of the region to Colorado welcome centers.
The Colorado Creative Corridor’s mission is to invite tourists to visit lesser-known recreational spots and experience mountain towns in a different way. The group developed a map of the area around the five towns, designed by Carbondale artist Laura Stover, and itineraries of suggested activities.
The Colorado Tourism Office awarded matching grants to 23 organizations for 2019, ranging from small awards of around $11,000 to $25,000, the maximum amount.
Carbondale and the other four towns are designated as creative districts by the state, making them eligible for certain grants to help attract greater artistic and entrepreneurial energy. The Creative Corridor is the first collaboration of designated creative districts that have begun working together to promote tourism.
Carbondale Tourism spokesperson Sarah-Jane Johnson said the Colorado Creative Corridor came about as the town was trying to find creative ways to promote tourism.
“The funding for most tourism marketing that we do comes from lodging tax,” Johnson said. With relatively few accommodations, Carbondale began looking for ways to tap into funding from the state tourism office.
When Carbondale received the creative district registration, it seemed natural to collaborate with other local mountain communities with the same designation.
“This is the first real collaboration of creative districts to promote tourism offerings,” Johnson said.