MCTA: We can be more than hunting


Other action

At its Oct. 22 meeting, the Moffat County Tourism Association Board of Directors:

• Approved an agreement to hire executive director as an independent contractor of Moffat County. Flannery was hired through Flint Personnel Services at a cost of about $8,000 each year.

• Discussed a program to relocate some wood carvings to downtown for a walking tour. The program would be an example of the type of packaged event - where tourists can do something already laid out for them - which Moffat County could use more of, vice-president Mike Crackel said.

• Looked at the Dec. 5 deadline for receiving matching funds through the Colorado Tourism Office, or CTO, for a new Moffat County brochure to market abroad. The CTO would give $2 for every $1 the MCTA spends.

• Decided to wait one or two years before buying a $4,000 ad in the Official State Vacation Guide. The board plans to enhance its current listing by purchasing such upgrades as bold font and space for the Web site.

• Vice-president Mike Crackel resigned from the board after the meeting. When contacted, Crackel did not wish to discuss his resignation.

— Although Moffat County is a national hunting destination, it could be more than that, which Moffat County Tourism Association board members want to create.

Currently, hunting season defines tourism in the area. The MCTA does not want to change the regional identity but would like to expand it and promote other activities that involve winter sports and the county's other natural assets, Executive Director Shelly Flannery said.

"Hunting is our main tourism draw," she said. "I see the season as an opportunity to show (the hunters) what else they can do here and give them reasons to come back during the offseason and bring their families."

Hunters are the perfect target audience to market outdoor adventures to, Flannery added.

"Hunters are those people," she said. "They're friendly, they love to talk and love to be here. Usually, if someone hunts, they're already an outdoor enthusiast."

The Board of Directors debated the usefulness of aggressive marketing at hunting trade shows compared to marketing at events for other activities.

Since Moffat County already is well known in the hunting community, MCTA should focus more of its funding and efforts elsewhere, board president Tammie Thompson-Booker said.

Less-developed activities will be easier to track and show progress, she added.

"You can pass out 10,000 brochures (at a hunting conference), and there's no way to prove they did any good," Thompson-Booker said. "How do you say we're increasing hunting when we're already full?

"We need to target offseason stuff. That's the kind of stuff we can work on and really prove our worth."

Thompson-Booker recommended the agency fund a booth at a snowmobile conference, where Moffat County brochures would be distributed.

"Let's advertise to people who have some other interest and come some other time of year," she said. "We have never targeted (the snowmobile) specific market."

Snowmobilers are a good audience to start with, Thompson-Booker added. Moffat County does not have many businesses in the tourism industry outside hunting, and snowmobilers would bring their own machines and find their own trails, she said.

Other board members felt tourism would be better served marketing to the largest audience possible. The attendance at a hunting convention is probably larger than that at a snowmobile convention, board vice-president Mike Crackel said.

"We can market these other activities to hunters," he said.

For this hunting season, that's the idea, Flannery said. She plans to be at the Moffat County Visitor Center Nov. 1 and 2 to meet with the hunters face-to-face.

She plans to pass out more "passports" - packets containing pictures and descriptions of some Moffat County sights - and have information about 2008 events, such as Craig's centennial celebration, Whittle the Wood and the Maybell Horse Drive.

Flannery also plans to show a video of past events, shot by Craig resident Dan Olsen.

Her goal for this hunting season is the same as the agency's goal for the future.

"Hunters are coming to us," Flannery said. "There will be more of a focus to get them to come back throughout the year."


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