At the Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference, held this week in Snowmass, Colorado, Visit Alamosa was awarded the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative. This award recognized Visit Alamosa’s “We Love Our National Park” campaign. This competitive award is given annually by the Colorado Tourism Office and recognizes an outstanding activity, event, or project that demonstrates creativity and innovation and contributes to the Colorado tourism economy.
Visit Alamosa Wins Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative at the Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference. (From left to right: Bob Stinchcomb, Colorado Tourism Board Chair, Savannah Schlaufman, Visit Alamosa Director of Marketing, Elizabeth Sumner, Visit Alamosa Director of Destination Development and Public Relations, Tim Wolfe, Director of the Colorado Tourism Office).
Kale Mortensen, Executive Director of Visit Alamosa said, “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. 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 “We Love Our National Park” campaign was launched in 2021 to aid in Covid-recovery, and stretched the celebration of National Parks Week to span the entire month of April. Driven by the efforts of Visit Alamosa, this initiative featured the creativity of the entire community, all collaborating together to celebrate the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. In 2022, 32 local businesses and 12 lodging properties got involved by either creating a Great Sand Dunes special event or display for the campaign. The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve also joined in the campaign, hosting the Kick-Off Celebration, as well as 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. 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,” said Elizabeth Sumner, Director of Destination Development and Public Relations for Visit Alamosa.
Kick-Off Celebration for “We Love Our National Park” Month (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, Elizabeth Sumner, Visit Alamosa Director of Destination Development and Public Relations).
Visit Alamosa designed a marketing campaign around this celebration that involved many local businesses. It included a voucher program to support local businesses, a comprehensive digital marketing campaign and interactive social media content. While the Great Sand Dunes was the centerpiece, the “We Love Our National Park Campaign” showcased Alamosa as the park’s gateway city and showed all the other amazing things Alamosa and the San Luis Valley has to offer. The total estimated direct impact of the “We Love Our National Park” program was over $148,000, which was especially impactful during Alamosa’s off-peak season.
“We are incredibly proud of this campaign. 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!” said Savannah Schlaufman, Director of Marketing for Visit Alamosa.
In April 2023, Visit Alamosa will bring back the “We Love Our National Park” for its third year, and are excited to build on the campaign’s success.