I attended the tourism conference Thursday, Oct. 3, in Telluride, and learned lots of great information to share with the Mancos Valley.
My first experience over coffee on Thursday morning was meeting with Tom Hess from AAA's Encompass Magazine. He informed me that those of us responsible for planning and coordinating events in our community have a free resource through the Encompass Magazine. We can post our events on their calendar that is published online. Events must meet certain criteria before they are approved. I encourage you to go to their website at www.encompass.com. It is a simple procedure. Check out and learn whether any of the events you are involved with will meet the criteria for posting.
David Huether from the US Travel Association shared with the conference some remarkable information about the positive impact the travel industry has had on the Colorado economy.
The travel sector of the economy experienced a down turn in 2008, but it has grown faster than other sectors, about 12 percent faster.
Huether reported that two-thirds of the economic growth in Colorado can be attributed to four core industries: manufacturing, information, business services and leisure-travel. What is interesting is that manufacturing created about 8,000 jobs while the travel industry created 33,000 in Colorado.
According to Huether, "leisure-travel dominates employment in Colorado and accounts for 50 percent of the gains."
He also pointed out that there are some positives in the travel industry. It is labor-intensive because it is personal and so hands-on with visitors. It is internationally engaged with travelers from beyond our borders, but it is structurally protected from being out sourced because people are needed in the community to provide information and services.
Travel is a leader in generating tax revenues for the state and its local communities.
Huether said the travel industry, "delivers on improving quality of life and economic development" while in, some cases, revitalizing isolated and neglected towns. However, he said that it is important not to neglect promotion and run the risk of losing market share.
A community's brand, Huether added, is as important as any brand name you might see in the media. He emphasized that improving quality of life through travel pulls visitors into our communities, but it can also attract business investment to our communities. He said that this is our opportunity to "move people to move."
I will follow-up with some more travel information next week.
Marianne Griffin is the executive director of the Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, 101 E. Bauer Ave. Visit www.mancosvalley.com or contact her at 533-7434. You can also visit firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.