Tourism in the Southwest

I attended the Southwest Tourism Conference in Durango last week. The conference brought together folks from the region and representatives from the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) in Denver. The State of Colorado is serious about enhancing tourism in the state because there is great positive economic impact to be had for communities in Colorado.

According to the CTO, tourism is a $16 billion industry in the state with visitation up in 2012 by 9 percent compared to 2010. With $4.5 million invested by Colorado, the industry generated 141,000 jobs and $879 million in state and local taxes. CTO also reported that for every marketing dollar spent by the State to encourage tourism, visitors typically spend $200.

In marketing Colorado, the CTO uses and tracks a variety of media: print, the web, mobile, social and apps. They have learned that 85 percent of travelers use the web to plan their trips. While many folks have been discounting the importance of print media, CTO has discovered that its use is rising. Historically, print media peaked at 30 to 33 percent but most recently has been on the rise to 49 percent while social media is at 25 percent and mobile resources are at 41 percent. So, it seems there is still a place for print media in the world of marketing.

Colorado Tourism is working to promote three aspects of Colorado life: our culture, heritage and agriculture. The Mancos Valley is in an excellent position for mirroring the state's marketing initiatives. We have always proclaimed ourselves to be the "gateway to Mesa Verde." We take great pride in our western heritage with "where the old west meets the new." Our highway signs define us as "Historic Mancos." We have been consistent in our message to the world beyond our valley. We take great pride in our farming and ranching heritage as well.

But, is there room for improvement? If you have ideas to share, please, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 533-7434 or send an e-mail to

The board of directors will be meeting at the Visitor Center, 101 E. Bauer, Thursday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. The community is welcome to attend.

Remember: The Heritage Project work party will be at the corner of Highways 160 and 184 to begin landscaping and beautifying Mancos on Saturday, May 4. Volunteers are needed. Work begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon. Bring work gloves. If you have a metal rake for moving rocks and heavy material, bring it. Wheelbarrows would also be handy.

Marianne Griffith is executive director of the Mancos Valley Chamber of Commerce.