VISIT Alamosa was awarded the Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Tourism Initiative for its “We Love Our National Park” campaign.
This competitive award is given annually by the Colorado Tourism Office and recognizes an outstanding activity, event, or project that demonstrates creativity and innovation and contributes to the Colorado tourism economy.
“We’re honored for the recognition by the Colorado Tourism Office and what this award represents for our community and the ‘We Love Our National Park’ program,” said Kale Mortensen, executive director of Visit Alamosa. “The program brought new energy to our community coming out of unprecedented times. With the collaboration of partners and the hard work of the staff, we were able to make a difference that not only highlights our destination but brought a positive economic impact to our community.”
The “We Love Our National Park” campaign was launched in 2021 to aid in COVID-recovery, and stretched the celebration of National Parks Week to span the entire month of April. Driven by efforts of Visit Alamosa, the initiative featured the creativity of the entire community, all collaborating together to celebrate the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
In 2022, 32 local businesses and 12 lodging properties got involved by either creating a Great Sand Dunes special event or display for the campaign. The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve also joined in the campaign, hosting the Kick-Off Celebration, as well as special programming throughout the month.
“This award is especially meaningful, because not only is Visit Alamosa being recognized for our efforts, our entire community is being recognized for its collaborative spirit, creativity and community pride, and rightfully so,” said Elizabeth Sumner, director of destination development and public relations for Visit Alamosa. “Our partners, hotels, RV parks, retail shops, and restaurants embraced this campaign and helped us transform a simple idea into a recurring community-wide celebration.”
Visit Alamosa designed a marketing campaign around this celebration that involved many local businesses. It included a voucher program to support local businesses, a comprehensive digital marketing campaign and interactive social media content. While the Great Sand Dunes was the centerpiece, the “We Love Our National Park Campaign” showcased Alamosa as the park’s gateway city and showcased all the other amazing things Alamosa and the San Luis Valley has to offer.
The total estimated direct impact of the “We Love Our National Park” program was more than $148,000, which was especially impactful during Alamosa’s off-peak season, according to Visit Alamosa figures.
In April 2023, Visit Alamosa will bring back the “We Love Our National Park” for its third year.
PHOTO: Bob Stinchcomb, Colorado Tourism Board chair, left; Savannah Schlaufman, Visit Alamosa director of marketing; Elizabeth Sumner, Visit Alamosa director of destination development and public relations; and Tim Wolfe, director of the Colorado Tourism Office.