ALAMOSA — How is a balance between promotion and preservation found? This was one of the key questions that were addressed during part three of the Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT).
At the Alamosa Family Recreation Center, a group of local stakeholders assembled once again to discuss the future of tourism in Alamosa and the surrounding areas.
Hillary Lukowitz, on behalf of the Colorado Tourism Office, facilitated the discussions.
Keeping tourists coming
Sustainable tourism was a central point of the discussions at the workshop. Due to increases in population and disposable income, the tourism industry in Colorado and around the world has grown larger than ever.
The population of Colorado grew 11 percent between 2009-2016 and this trend is expected to increase steadily. As a result, this has caused increased pressure on landscapes and communities across the state. Hence, the need for preserving Colorado’s natural assets has also increased.
Lukowitz cited Conundrum Hot Springs near Aspen as an example of the need for responsible management. The destination sits on land managed by the USFS and was once considered pristine; however, due to overcrowding and sanitation issues, the USFS has had to respond with increased management and permitting.
Lukowitz further noted that when communities “think on a preventative level,” and “utilize a proactive rather than reactive approach to tourism” and resource management, similar situations are preventable in other areas. She noted that some of the ways that communities can be proactive include the promotion of the “Leave no Trace” initiative, promoting local business that implement “green” measures, and focusing on more than one local asset when it comes to marketing. Other measures such as promoting sustainability at large events, and transportation solutions can help to lessen environmental impacts.