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Responsible Tourism

With many Colorado residents voicing concerns about impacts of travelers on special places and natural resources, the Roadmap’s STEWARD Pillar laid the groundwork for a new partnership aimed at protecting what makes Colorado such a special destination. As part of this initiative, The Colorado Tourism Office is encouraging travelers to explore off-peak seasons and less-visited destinations, while inspiring them to travel like a local, engage in “voluntourism” and support causes dear to Coloradans. The foundation of the CTO’s new stewardship platform is being created in a ground-breaking partnership with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics.

The partnership was announced in October 2017 with leaders of the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) and the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics outlining a plan to encourage Colorado’s 82 million-plus visitors to be active stewards of the state’s precious natural resources. 

The alliance with the Colorado Tourism Office is a first for the Leave No Trace Center, which counts the primary federal public land agencies as well as Subaru and many major U.S. outdoor retailers among its strategic partners.

The CTO and the Leave No Trace Center have outlined their new relationship in a six-page memorandum of understanding intended as a model for other states as well. An accompanying task agreement describes a commitment to fostering collaborations aimed at creating best practices for at least three tourism industry sectors by October 2018. The two organizations also are collaborating on messaging, research and a statewide public lands cleanup project.

Dana Watts, executive director of the nonprofit Leave No Trace Center, said her board of directors sees much potential for expanding the reach of its iconic messaging through new state partnerships.

“Since our founding in 1994, we’ve magnified our message primarily through strategic alliances with organizations that share our passion and commitment,” Watts said. “This new partnership with the CTO holds huge potential for influencing many millions of people. Protecting natural resources is extremely important in a state like Colorado, where 37 percent of lands are federally owned and another 5 percent are in state hands.” 

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