Visit Alamosa wins Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative

From left to right: Molly Mendez, Visit Alamosa Welcome Center manager; Lori Laske, Alamosa County Commissioner; Kale Mortensen, Visit Alamosa executive director; Kathy Faz, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve chief of interpretation and visitor services; Savannah Schlaufman, Visit Alamosa director of marketing; and Elizabeth Sumner, Visit Alamosa director of destination development and public relations at the Kick-Off Celebration for ‘We Love Our National’ Park month.

SNOWMASS — Visit Alamosa was awarded the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative for the organization’s “We Love Our National Park” campaign at the Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference held this week in Snowmass.

The award is given annually by the Colorado Tourism Office and recognizes outstanding activities, events or projects which demonstrate creativity and innovation while contributing to Colorado’s tourism economy.

“We’re honored for the recognition by the Colorado Tourism Office and what this award represents for our community and the ‘We Love Our National Park’ program,” said Kale Mortenson, executive director of Visit Alamosa in a press release. “The program brought new energy to our community coming out of unprecedented times. With the collaboration of partners and the hard work of the staff, we were able to make a difference that not only highlights our destination but brought a positive economic impact to our community.

“Thank you to the Colorado Tourism Office, thank you to our partners, our board and a special shout-out to my incredibly talented crew at Visit Alamosa.”

The campaign was launched in 2021 to help recover from the impacts of COVID-19. It extended National Parks Week to be celebrated during the entire month of April. Visit Alamosa and the community collaborated to celebrate the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

In 2022, 32 local businesses and 12 lodging properties created a Great Sand Dunes special event or display for the campaign. The park itself joined the campaign, hosting the Kick-Off Celebration and there was special programming throughout the month.

“This award is especially meaningful, because not only is Visit Alamosa being recognized for our efforts, our entire community is being recognized for their collaborative spirit, creativity and community pride, and rightfully so,” said Elizabeth Summer, director of destination development and public relations for Visit Alamosa in a release. “Our partners, hotels, RV parks, retail shops and restaurants embraced this campaign and helped us transform a simple idea into a recurring community-wide celebration.”

The organization created a marketing campaign centered around the celebration involving several local businesses. The marketing campaign included a voucher program to support local businesses, a digital marketing campaign and interactive social media content.

In addition to the Great Sand Dunes, the campaign showcased Alamosa as the park’s gateway city and touted other offerings in Alamosa and the San Luis Valley.

It’s estimated that the direct impact of the program was over $148,000.

“We are incredibly proud of this campaign,” said Savannah Shlaufman, director of marketing for Visit Alamosa in a press release. “While it began as a way we could help our local businesses in their post-pandemic recovery, it has grown into something much greater.  It’s such a fantastic way that we are able to showcase our amazing local businesses and of course our amazing National Park. I think this campaign in particular resonates so well with both locals and visitors because it is so genuine.

“We at Visit Alamosa, and our whole community, love our park.”

“We Love Our National Park” will return for its third year in April 2023.

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