DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Tourism Office has launched a campaign urging out-of-state travelers not to visit the state this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I think there certainly is a wish among practitioners of tourism that there will be travelers this summer,” department director Cathy Ritter said. “Those may be in-state travelers. There may be other conditions that happen that make it impossible to invite travelers back into our state” this summer.
The department instead launched a “Waiting to CO” campaign encouraging people to indulge their favorite Colorado pastimes at home, officials said. The campaign is intended to let travelers know now is not a good time to visit the state.
“Waiting to CO” is the name of the first of four phases with videos of a child kayaking down the front steps of his home and a climber scaling the side of his house.
“For now, we hope our message keeps Colorado top of mind as a beloved vacation destination,” Ritter said.
Ritter says travel spending was down 89% by mid-April compared to the same time last year as more people contracted COVID-19.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The department is part of Democratic Gov. Jared Polis' office, which has not yet determined when it will be safe to travel in or to the state, KDVR-TV reported.
“There definitely is a resolve within the tourism industry to be ready. To hit the restart button if the conditions are right,” Ritter said. “But I think there’s also an understanding and a resignation to the fact that day may not come this summer.”