New county program aims to expand arts and culture tourism |

New county program aims to expand arts and culture tourism

The Cozens Ranch Museum, located in Fraser, is one of the many historical, cultural and creative attractions that Grand County hopes to promote through a new tourism program.
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

If you go...

Where: Granby Public Library, 55 Zero Street


Learning Lab #2 Monday April 8, 2019 

Topics: Sustainable Tourism; Marketing & Social Media
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Sustainable Tourism: Presenter for Kim Landmaid, Founder & Vice President, Sustainability Programs, Walking Mountains
12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Marketing & Social Media: Presenter for Dave Santucci, Marketing Consultant

Learning Lab #3 Monday April 22, 2019 

Topics: Culinary & Argitourism; Cultural & Heritage Tourism Presenters: TBA
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Culinary & Argitourism
12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: Cultural & Heritage Tourism

More info: Please RSVP to the classes through Shanna Ganne, executive director of the Grand County Historical Association, at

*A light breakfast and lunch will be provided at each learning lab.

Despite Grand County’s expansive history and vibrant arts scene, it is best known for its world class ski resorts, trail systems and outdoor recreation. A new program hopes to change that by attracting tourists to the county for its cultural, historic and creative offerings.

The Grand County Economic Development office, the Grand County Colorado Tourism Board and the Grand County Historical Association partnered to apply for a grant that would provide tourism workshops and training focused on the culture, history and art elements of the community.

“We’re history people, we’re arts people or food people, but we don’t know about tourism, so the goal is to help increase that knowledge so that we can all move toward sustainability and becoming economic drivers in our community,” said Shanna Ganne, executive director of the Grand County Historical Association.

Part of the grant program, called the Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT) 101, is to host three learning labs, which are free workshops open to the public discussing specific tourism-related topics, such as sustainable tourism and social media.

The first lab, which was held on March 18 and covered rural tourism and visitor readiness, drew people in the cultural, historical and creative industries from all over the county to discuss how to work together and promote each other’s businesses, Ganne said.

“It was so amazing to bring all of these people to the table with their different ideas,” she said.

The CRAFT 101 program also includes six in-person training sessions and online training for the economic development office, the tourism board and the historical association, which ultimately have to develop a tourism-related group project.

Ganne explained that the group has not decided on a project yet, but ideas range from a website or brochures to more technical resources. By the end of the 12 week program, the project is supposed to have a written vision, measurable goals and marketing strategies.

“They will come up with a game plan of how best to build capacity in our sector of tourism,” she said.

After the project is decided, then the group can apply for up to $10,000 in grant funding for the final project.

One goal of both the CRAFT program and the final project is to increase the number of visitors coming to Grand County for the cultural, historical and creative attractions.

“Tourism is a huge economic driver in Colorado so how do we, as heritage, cultural, historic and creative organizations get a little bit of that pie and how can we enrich the tourism experience because not everybody is interested in or able to participate in outdoor recreation,” Ganne said.

However, the hope is that by making more visitors aware of the other attractions, overall tourism in the county will grow beyond outdoor recreation and become more sustainable for all sectors.

“Our sector of tourism is not reliant on weather,” she said. “So we can be a way to bridge the economy, especially the tourism economy, into the shoulder seasons, so we can have a year-round economy.”

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.

Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.

If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User