Moffat County Tourism Association board discusses 2014 plans

— For more information on how to apply for the Moffat County Tourism Association board, call Melody Villard at 970-824-2335 or Erin Miller at 970-824-5517.

Collaboration is the name of the game for the Moffat County Tourism Association in 2014.

At its monthly meeting Monday morning, the MCTA board looked back on the accomplishments of the past year and what will be in store for Northwest Colorado for the year to come. MCTA Director Melody Villard said one of the goals of the organization this year is to build relationships both within the county and neighboring areas that will benefit all involved.

The year-end review detailed where MCTA put its efforts in 2013, spending $157,000 worth of funds raised through the local lodging tax, including providing the Moffat County Visitor Center in the Craig Chamber of Commerce with $27,000; funding $7,000 for Dinosaur’s Colorado State Welcome Center; and using $18,000 to advertise events like Grand Olde West Days, Wild West Weekend, Whittle the Wood, the Bear River Young Life and Colorado Cruisers Car and Motorcycle Show and the Moffat County Balloon Festival, among other ventures throughout the year.

Participating with the Craig Daily Press to create the tourism brochure 101 Fun Things to Do in Northwest Colorado and buying ad space in the Colorado Official State Vacation Guide were also key projects.

The topic of advertising led to board member Larry Hoover pitching the idea of running ads in Our Backyard, a travel guide based out of Grand Junction which reaches people in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah through the Fruita Times, Palisade Tribune and Moab, (Utah), Times Independent.

“We need a way to jump out and say, ‘here we are,’” Hoover said.

The board agreed to make a decision at a later date regarding any new ads, but the talk also turned to how to work with nearby communities to promote Moffat County.

Jay Oxley and Audrey Danner, representing Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership, were also present at the meeting. Danner mentioned the ongoing project of promoting off-highway vehicle trails in Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco Counties as the kind of collaboration that would allow all three counties to see more tourists between them.

Another tactic is continuing to grow the brand of Moffat County, which was another focus of MCTA during 2013, working with marketing firm Hill Aevium to improve the area’s online presence for tourists and the objective of giving an accurate representation of what the area has to offer in a place where, according to the MCTA slogan, “the West runs wild.”

“We’re really consistently pushing a message for what visitors can see and do in Moffat,” Villard said.

Tuesday morning saw Kandee Dilldine and Bill Chase reappointed to the MCTA board by the Moffat County Commissioners, but an empty seat still remains, one which Villard hopes to fill as soon as possible with a county resident with tourism-related experience in industries like restaurants or hotels.

"We're always looking for new blood," Villard said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com.

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