Tourism is a lucrative economic driver in Durango and La Plata County, and at the Durango Area Tourism Office, we are thankful we have so much to promote.
Wise strategic investments in travel promotion by destinations like ours kick off a virtuous cycle of increased traveler visits, greater traveler spending in our community, faster job creation and higher tax revenues that far surpass the initial investment.
Travel and tourism are cash-generating machines for state and local governments. Across the country in 2012, travel generated enough taxes to pay the wages of every firefighter and police officer in the country (sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011; U.S. Travel Association, 2012).
In La Plata County, travelers spent $251 million in 2012, generating $7.1 million in local tax revenue and $5.6 million in state taxes. Lodgers tax collections, the funding source for DATO and our destination’s travel promotion, is on an upward trend – good news for our community and our virtuous cycle of travel promotion and revenue generation.
It is our mission at DATO to grow this cash-generating machine for the benefit of all local stakeholders. In 2013, we expanded our target markets to include increased promotion in international markets and domestic fly-and-drive niche target markets. We launched the new “Durango Dozen” campaign to deliver the message that we have a wide and diverse array of attractions available for all travelers. The tagline “A Dozen Vacations in One Destination” is designed to tempt the visitor to experience the depth of activities our area has to offer. The goal is to attract new visitors for an extended stay and increased spending, therefore growing the cash-generating machine for La Plata County.
New data and analytics systems launched this year will allow DATO to make precise and timely target-marketing decisions and quickly measure and adjust those targets depending on feedback and success ratios.
Learn more about our travel and tourism promotion programs at our community tourism forum in February 2014. We will showcase our marketing and advertising programs and demonstrate how local businesses can maximize opportunities available for promotion through our efforts and those of the Colorado Tourism Office.
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Patti O’Brien is executive director for the Durango Area Tourism Office. DATO is a nonprofit that promotes Durango and La Plata County’s tourism attractions. It is funded by a lodgers tax collected on lodging rooms in Durango and La Plata County. O’Brien can be reached at email@example.com or 828-1038.