MCTA director a tourist at heart

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The new executive director of the Moffat County Tourism Association is no stranger to tourism in Northwest Colorado.

Before she worked to promote the region's attractions, Shelly Flannery spent 13 years coming to the region as a tourist.

"I've been a tourist here for longer than I've been a resident here," Flannery said.

Flannery is a native of Colo--rado's Eastern Plains and has spent the past 18 months working as the director of tourism and economic development for Meeker.

She starts as the new executive director of the Moffat County Tourism Association during the first week of June.

Flannery replaces Steve Miller, who resigned from the tourism association in July.

Flannery was introduced as the association's new director at its monthly meeting Wednesday.

When she came to Northwest Colorado as a tourist, Flannery said she liked to do activities involving the region's rivers and wildlife.

Seeing the region from the standpoint of a tourist helps her promote the area, she said.

People who have lived here for a long time might take some of the region's tourist attractions for granted because the attractions have always been here, she said.

But as someone who is still new relatively new to the area, Flannery said she isn't likely to take the region's attractions for granted.

"I still see it through the eyes of a tourist," she said.

Flannery's first goal is to meet the people in the local tourist industry, she said.

Her long-term goal is to see Northwest Colorado market itself more as a region than as individual areas, Flannery said.

"We have some really neat destinations up here," she said.

Although small towns like Maybell are great places to visit, it is hard to attract visitors for a three-day stay, she said.

A better approach would be to promote the region and have visitors spend time in a variety of locations, she said.

Flannery said she would also like to promote western Moffat County.

Richard Blakley, an MCTA member from Dinosaur, said the western end of the county doesn't get the attention it deserves.

"That end of the county is always left out," Blakley said.

"It's sad."

Flannery said she plans to visit the western end of the county soon so she can familiarize herself with the area and its people.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or bjohansson@craigdailypress.com.

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