CRAFT training draws large crowd

Photo by Helen Smith Chaffee County Commissioner Greg Felt shares remarks at the Alamosa CRAFT training on Wednesday.

ALAMOSA— The second portion of the Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) brought another in-depth look at tourism last Wednesday, April 3 at the Alamosa City Council Chambers.
There was a much larger group in hand for the public input portion of the training and a great deal of conversation that took place. The session was opened by Elizabeth O’Rear from the Colorado Tourism Office and facilitated by Hillary Lukowitz. The meeting opened with a recap of the goals that were established during the core group meeting. The goals are an improved marketing strategy, increased community engagement and visitor readiness.

Input
When the group was asked for additional input regarding the goals, Deborah Clave, manager of the Alamosa Holiday Inn Express pointed out that there is a need for improvement when it comes to catering and transportation services.
The attendees were then asked to divide into smaller groups to evaluate and write down the different tourism assets that the city and county of Alamosa have. The resulting consensus was that a great deal of the assets lie within the city; hence, there is need for improved signage and such along the main routes of Alamosa.

A sense of place
The morning session concluded with a presentation from Chaffee County Commissioner Greg Felt. During his remarks, Felt shared the story of how Chaffee County had to adapt to the tourism industry. Felt also pointed out that “a sense of place,” is a very important aspect to tourism. He also encouraged the group to develop a “long-term view” and plan for the inevitable change that is coming with increases in population and visitation.
Felt also stressed the importance of taking care of resources and the key role that service-based industries play. “Think about who you are and who you want to be,” he said. He concluded by noting that the San Luis Valley has a great deal of potential when it comes to tourism.
“Don’t spend too much energy trying to conform,” Felt said.

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