Logan County lands state, federal grant to launch ‘Free Range Travel’ push – Sterling Journal-Advocate

Logan County is one of seven entities to receive part of Colorado’s $1.8 million Tourism Recovery Marketing Grant, awarded by the Colorado Tourism Office.

The goal of the grant program is to support the economic recovery of the travel and tourism industry and attract visitors to Colorado cities and towns that are still recovering from the pandemic

According to Gov. Jared Polis, who announced the grants Tuesday morning, a healthy and robust tourism economy is essential to Colorado’s thriving economy.

“Colorado is home to inspirational world-class outdoor gems, deep cultural history, and unique destinations that offer endless reasons to visit,” Polis said. “Our administration is providing help for communities across our state that are tourism destinations to help our economy thrive, address challenging local issues like affordable workforce housing and create jobs.”

Marilee Johnson, public information officer and director of the Logan County Tourism Office, said the county will use the $75,000 grant to execute a “Free Range Travel” marketing campaign aimed at raising awareness of the easy-to-access, affordable and beautiful outdoor assets along the I-76 corridor. Grant funding will support video creation and distribution via promoted social and digital channels. The primary target audience is Colorado’s touring visitors, specifically the geographic markets of Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Indiana.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant award to help us bring more of what the Colorado Tourism Office identifies as its number one audience by volume, the touring audience,” Johnson said. “Located in the corner of Colorado that has not recovered back to pre-pandemic levels, much of Logan County’s tourism depends on road trips along I-76.”

Each application was evaluated on the strength of a tourism recovery-focused marketing campaign, demonstrated recovery need, measurable tourism impact, quality of budget and timeline and implementation capacity.

The grant was funded through an EDA American Rescue Plan: Travel, Tourism and Outdoor Recreation State Grant, providing funding to eligible applicants to support the economic recovery of the travel and tourism industry in Colorado through the execution of tourism marketing and promotional campaigns. All marketing campaign messaging must support the travel and tourism sectors and be consistent with CDC guidelines for safe travel.

The other grant recipients were:

  • City of La Junta, $75,000, to launch a marketing campaign;
  • Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, $400,000 to leverage the Olympic City USA brand;
  • Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, $500,000 for an International Markets Recovery Program;
  • Fort Collins Convention & Visitors Bureau, $175,000 for public relations efforts to bolster year-round visitation;
  • Visit Aurora, $400,000 for a marketing campaign.
  • Loveland Economic Development Corp., $175,000 to develop a marketing plan.

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