Cortez Slowly Prepares to Attract Visitors

06/23/2020
NEWS BRIEFS
Local Case Counts: Montezuma County: 689 cases, 4 deaths (+2 among cases), Dolores, 14 cases, montezumacounty.org, colorado.gov
Cortez City CARES Act funds available, apply before deadline, cityofcortez.com
Sign up for Colorado Exposure Notification for text notification: www.addyourphone.com
Montezuma County weekly video updates on the COVID-19 response, montezumacounty.org

Visit Mesa Verde Country is phasing in a marketing campaign to invite visitors back to Montezuma County to protect locals while restarting the tourim economy and generate tax revenues.

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THE VISIT MESA VERDE COUNTRY TOURISM OFFICE FINDS ITSELF TORN BETWEEN PROMOTING TRAVEL TO THE AREA AND ENSURING THE COMMUNITY'S SAFETY, BUT TOURISM OFFICIALS SAY MESA VERDE COUNTRY ACTUALLY IS THE PERFECT POST-SHUTDOWN DESTINATION FOR VACATIONERS. YOU'RE WATCHING THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK, BROUGHT TO YOU BY KEESEE MOTORS. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE. AS COLORADO AND MONTEZUMA COUNTY BEGIN TO RE-OPEN FOR BUSINESS FOLLOWING THE COVID-19 SHUTDOWN IN APRIL AND MAY, THE MESA VERDE COUNTRY TOURISM OFFICE IS TAKING A SAFETY-FIRST APPROACH WITH ITS MARKETING EFFORTS.
I THINK FIRST AND FOREMOST IS THE SAFETY OF OUR COMMUNITY AND OUR RESIDENTS. AND WE, IN BEGINNING TO START SOME KIND OF REOPENING PLAN, REMAINED REALLY SENSITIVE TO WHAT THE RESIDENTS FEEL. WE LOOK AT IT AS THOUGH, IN TOURISM, IN A NORMAL SEASON, WE'RE INVITING PEOPLE INTO OUR, OUR HOMES, AND DO WE FEEL SAFE FOR THE RESIDENTS AND THE TRAVELERS? YOU KNOW, IS IT A GOOD TIME? IS IT TOO SOON? WE ASKED OURSELVES ALL THOSE QUESTIONS AND REALLY, MMM. WE ARE MAKING OUR DECISIONS BASED ON THAT TEMPERATURE OF THE COMMUNITY. THE U.S. TRAVEL ASSOCIATION PREDICTS THAT THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY WILL SUFFER A 45 PERCENT DECLINE IN REVENUES IN 2020. BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT TRAVELERS WHO'VE BEEN STUCK AT HOME FOR THE PAST TWO MONTHS ARE EAGER TO GET AWAY, AND THEY MOST LIKELY WILL TRAVEL BY CAR. THAT'S GOOD NEWS FOR MESA VERDE COUNTRY, SAYS KIRKPATRICK, BECAUSE THE REGION'S SCENIC DRIVES AND OUTDOOR RECREATION OPPORTUNITIES OFFER ROAD-TRIPPERS A SAFE AND FUN WAY TO ESCAPE.THEY'RE GOING TO LOOK AT PLACES THAT ARE WIDE OPEN, THAT HAVE A LOT OF OUTDOOR SPACE, WHICH MESA VERDE COUNTRY HAS. CORTEZ, DOLORES, AND MANCOS, WE PROVIDE TRAILS AND MOUNTAIN BIKING TRAILS AND PUBLIC LANDS THAT PEOPLE CAN GET OUT AND, AND WORK. WE'RE KIND OF CALLING IT NATURAL DISTANCING, YEAH, ON THE OFF PLAY, OFF THE SAFE DISTANCE SCENE, BUT, WE PROVIDE A PLACE TO GET OUT AND RELAX. AND I THINK AFTER BEING COOPED UP FOR 13 WEEKS, UH, FOLKS ARE LOOKING FOR THAT.MESA VERDE COUNTRY ALSO OPERATES THE COLORADO WELCOME CENTER, ONE OF TEN STATE WELCOME CENTERS LOCATED IN BORDER COMMUNITIES AROUND COLORADO'S PERIMETER. KIRKPATRICK SAID THE COLORADO VISITORS CENTER OPENED WITH LIMITED SELF-SERVE ACCESS EARLIER THIS MONTH TO PROVIDE INFORMATION TO TRAVELERS ALREADY ON THE ROAD . . . AND TO GAUGE COMMUNITY READINESS TO OPEN BUSINESSES TO TOURISM ACTIVITY.THE REALITY IS FOLKS ARE COMING FROM DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY WITH DIFFERENT RULES AND REGULATIONS. AND, BOTTOM LINE WAS, PEOPLE ARE STILL TRAVELING, AND WE FELT IT WAS REALLY IMPORTANT TO ASSIST THEM WITH INFORMATION ABOUT BUSINESSES IN THE COMMUNITY, WHAT SAFETY PROTOCOLS THEY WERE FOLLOWING TO KEEP TRAVELERS SAFE. AND WE JUST FELT LIKE IT WAS REALLY IMPORTANT TO BE THAT SOURCE OF INFORMATION. SO WE REOPENED OUR DOORS. IN THE NEXT PHASE, THE VISITORS CENTER WILL OPEN THE INTERIOR WITH SOCIAL-DISTANCING MEASURES IN PLACE, INCLUDING ONE-WAY CIRCULATION PATTERNS AND LIMITING THE NUMBER OF VISITORS ALLOWED INSIDE.WHEN THE SHUTDOWN OCCURRED, VISIT MESA VERDE COUNTRY CANCELLED ALL ITS NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISING BUT IT INTENDS TO RE-INVEST IN REGIONAL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS TO ATTRACT VISITORS WHO LIVE WITHIN A FIVE- TO SIX-HOUR DRIVE FROM CORTEZ. WITH THE SAN JUAN SKYWAY AND TRAILS OF THE ANCIENTS SCENIC BYWAYS CROSSING THROUGH THE AREA, DRIVING TOURS OPEN AT MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK, AND DRIVING ACCESS TO LITERALLY DOZENS OF ANCESTRAL PUEBLOAN SITES IN CANYONS OF THE ANCIENTS NATIONAL MONUMENT, MESA VERDE COUNTRY IS PERFECTLY POISED TO ATTRACT ROAD-TRIP VACATIONERS.
FOLKS ARE GONNA WANT TO GET OUT. I THINK THEY'RE A LITTLE STIR CRAZY. THEY, THEY WANT TO STILL HAVE THEIR VACATION. THEY WANT TO GO SOMEPLACE THAT FEELS WARM AND INVITING AND SAFE, AND WE ARE PERFECTLY POSITIONED TO BE THAT FOR THEM THIS YEAR.FOR MORE INFORMATON ABOUT VISITOR CENTER HOURS, SCHEDULED OPENINGS AND ACTIVITIES AVAILABLE IN THE REGION, CHECK OUT THE WEB SITE AT MESA VERDE COUNTRY DOT COM. THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS EDITION OF THE LOCAL NEWS NETWORK. I'M WENDY GRAHAM SETTLE.

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