Earlier this year, Grand County Historical, Tourism and Economic Development collectively partnered and received a 2019 Colorado Tourism CRAFT 101 Grant. For a twelve week period, community champions (members of the historical, cultural, tourism, creative and culinary business) are offering an educational program to the public, lead by the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO).

The Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) was founded to offer training and support for rural economic development through creation and branding of new and/or enhanced traveler experiences.

The learning labs are designed to help stakeholders gain knowledge on rural tourism, visitor readiness, tourism entrepreneurship, marketing & social media, cultural & heritage tourism, agritourism, outdoor adventure tourism, cycling tourism and sustainable tourism.

The goal of the CRAFT 101 Grant is to tie together the cultural, heritage, creative and byways within Grand County to promote and create awareness and knowledge of these local assets. At the end of the 12 weeks, there will be a clear written vision, measurable goals and marketing strategy in place that reflect market opportunities, community assets and values. The long-term outcomes will create new tourism product development to expand the seasons, length of stay, increase the range of activities and engage visitors throughout the county.

CRAFT Studio 101 Programs: Open to the public

The first Learning Lab (#1) was held on Monday, March 18. Topics covered were Rural Tourism in the morning, featuring presenter: Kat Papenbrock, Executive Director of Ouray Tourism Office; and, in the afternoon, the topic was Visitor Readiness, with Vanessa Agee, Director of Marketing & Communications for the Town of Frisco.

The Lab was lead by facilitator, Amy Cassidy, a marketing and advertising professional from the Vail Valley. The presenters were from communities similar to ours and were well-versed in their subject matter, helping the group of 25 attendees identify areas of strength as well as opportunities for improvement.

The next Learning Lab (#2) is scheduled on Monday, April 8. The topics are Sustainable Tourism from 9 am to 12 pm with presenter Kim Landmaid, Founder & Vice President, Sustainability Programs, Walking Mountains; and, Marketing & Social Media from 12:30 to 3:30 pm, with Dave Santucci, Marketing Consultant.

Learning Lab #3 is scheduled for Monday, April 22. Culinary & Agritourism leads off from 9 am to 12 pm; and, Cultural & Heritage Tourism follows lunch from 12:30 to 3:30 pm. The presenters for these two topics are still to be announced.

The Labs are held at the Granby Library (55 Zero Street Granby, CO 80446) and lunch is provided. The public is welcome to attend the full-day or just the morning or afternoon sessions.

To register, email Shanna Ganne, Grand County Historical Association: shanna@grandcountyhistory.org or call (970) 509‐9154.