DENVER (KDVR) — According to the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO), out-of-state travelers may be urged to not visit Colorado this summer.
“I think there certainly is a wish among practitioners of tourism that there will be travelers this summer,” Cathy Ritter, director of the CTO, said. “Those may be in-state travelers. There may be other conditions that happen that make it impossible to invite travelers back into our state.”
The tourism industry has been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Traveler spending was down 89 percent by mid-April compared to the same time last year, according to Ritter.
The CTO is not currently inviting travel to Colorado. Instead, they launched the first phase of their campaign to encourage travelers to share favorite Colorado pastimes from home.
The point of the campaign is to let travelers know now is not a good time to come to Colorado.
“Waiting to CO” is the name of Phase 1 with videos of a child kayaking down the front steps of his home and a climber scaling the side of his house. “For now, we hope our message keeps Colorado top of mind as a beloved vacation destination,” Ritter said in a news statement posted on their website.
“We also hope it gives all of those who yearn for Colorado a fun outlet for expressing what they plan to get out and do when the time is right.”
Ritter said without knowing when the state will open back up for travel, they are primarily focusing on in-state travelers since travel will be slow starting and close to home at first.
The CTO is part of the governor’s office so they are aligning all their policies with those of the governor’s. They are insisting all travelers check local websites and local restrictions to make sure they are in compliance when they do decide to travel around the state.
The office is not offering up any date when it will be safe to travel in or to Colorado. With summer being the heaviest travel season in the state, the CTO is anticipating a major loss of revenue but is encouraging communities to protect themselves and their own economies.
“There definitely is a resolve within the tourism industry to be ready. To hit the restart button if the conditions are right,” Ritter said. “But I think there’s also an understanding and a resignation to the fact that day may not come this summer.”
Launch dates for phases two through four have not been determined yet. The CTO continues to work with the governor’s office and state health officials to work towards those goals.
For now, the CTO is inviting travelers to share their pretend travel moments where they’re dreaming about coming to Colorado via social media using #WAITINGTOCO.