Meeting with Delta County Commissioners during their Feb. 19 meeting, Kelli Hepler, coordinator for Delta County Tourism Cabinet, shared highlights of the cabinet's activities in 2018 and its plans for 2019.
"In 2018 we responded to a growing interest for outdoor recreation," Hepler said.
"After launching a number of social media apps and campaigns to showcase the recreational assets that dot the landscape of Delta County, there was an almost immediate increase in the data on our social media channels.
"Partnerships with local chambers, BLM, the Colorado Tourism Office, arts groups and entrepreneurs have improved and the benefits from these relationships have been reflected in the increase of lodging tax. We realized a 21 percent increase in the tax collections and, for the first time since the tax was approved in 1988, the cabinet saw the collections go over $100,000 to $104,887," Hepler said.
In addition to the increase in lodging tax, Hepler cited other accomplishments for Delta County: two new wineries and a brewery were opened in the county; a CRAFT grant was received for the Grand Mesa National Scenic and Historic Byway; the City of Delta received a CRAFT 201 grant, including a mentor, for marketing and promotion; an agritourism group was started in Cedaredge; the cabinet supported the Colorado Creative Corridor; and a star gazing picnic program was launched in Crawford.
Hepler said the cabinet will capitalize on the momentum from 2018 in 2019 by increasing and improving its branding voice through video, social media, media familiarization trips, and training of front line staff. They will aim their messages to a younger audience and be more mindful of photographers in their tourism mix.
Plans are underway to apply for specialized training in 2020 from the Colorado Tourism Office to enable Delta County communities to be on the cutting edge for future tourism efforts and branding the county in a manner consistent with its local character, Hepler said.
On May 1, the Cedaredge board of trustees met for a special meeting to appropriate an additional $35,000 from reserves as a loan to the golf course fund.
These funds will be used to purchased a used turf utility vehicle, a spray rig, and to make improvements to the kitchen and dining area of the restaurant.