SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado (CBS4) – Some mountain communities in Colorado are changing their approach to tourism to manage the guest experience amid the affordable housing crisis and resulting labor shortage.
âWe really took a step back and said, ‘Maybe now is not the time to keep the gas on marketing,’â said Andrew Sandstrom, director of marketing for the Gunnison Crested Butte Tourism Association. â(We said) ‘What can we do to better help the community? To better help visitors when they are here? “
âSo we made the decision about a month ago to turn off our summer marketing promotions. We have transferred some of those contractual impressions in marketing to stewardship messages.
Crested Butte faced a record summer and realized he didn’t need to sell to tourists, and the new stewardship message he focused on helped a lot in other areas. .
âA big change we have here this summer is that a lot of our drainages have moved from scattered camping to designated only camping, so we’ve shifted a lot of the message to that. Also, one of our missions outlined by our county commissioner was also to help Western Colorado University, which is in Gunnison, so we transferred some of those contractual impressions to Movement Aid and retention for Western, âhe said.
The pandemic has exacerbated the housing crisis in much of the high country. In Telluride, for example, the Colorado Sun reported that a city councilor would like to shift the city’s $ 2 million marketing budget to solutions to the housing crisis.
In Buena Vista, tourist crowds were more focused on vaccination rates, which are below 70% in Chaffee County. Public health officials were very concerned about another wave, and as a result, the annual Seven Peaks Music Festival was canceled due to capacity restrictions. The concert promoters wanted 20,000 people, but the public health department considered that number to be far too risky.
“Despite what some may believe, the public health system and its supporters are still concerned that we are clearly not out of this global pandemic,” Chaffee County Director of Public Health wrote Andrea Carlstrom by email. . âWe are not Denver. We are a small riding with limited resources. We also don’t want to be the vector of an epidemic that could have been avoided, possibly saving lives.
I know that I, as well as our county board of health, have been the target of backlash about maintaining our integrity in our local response, but our public health system exists to protect the health of people. communities we serve. Looking at what is happening in other counties and states across the country, the future is concerning. It is unfortunate that there are people who are convinced this pandemic is over, and they could be “on it”, but COVID-19 is not “upon us” yet.
In the town of Breckenridge, with summer numbers equal to 2019, crowds of people are visiting doing their best to have a normal summer vacation, and businesses are struggling to keep up.
“Businesses in the city ie shops, restaurants, lodges, are understaffed and may limit their offerings,” said Austyn Dineen, public relations manager at Breckenridge Tourism Board .
Breckenridge isn’t taking away marketing to tourists, but he has a new campaign to remind them that behind the scenes the struggle is real.
âWe call it our responsible stewardship campaign and you’ll see it locally in business windows. You’ll see it in marketing while you’re in town on radio and TV, âDineen said. “We just remind the guests, let’s all work together to be patient and kind to these people who are working very hard right now.”