Colorado State University Sponsors Denver Roundtable on May 11 to Build Tourism Industry Collaboration in State

Note to Editors: This invitation-only event is not open to the public.

Colorado tourism industry leaders will gather in Denver on Thursday at a roundtable hosted by Colorado State University to discuss improving tourism efforts while protecting the state’s natural resources.

The group will consider ways that tourism businesses, non-governmental organizations, local, state and federal governments and Colorado State University can collaborate to maintain a sustainable tourism industry in Colorado.

The meeting will be from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. May 11 at the Grant Humphreys Mansion, 770 Pennsylvania St., in Denver.

"This roundtable is a wonderful example of Colorado State’s commitment to developing closer ties with communities and fostering economic development in Colorado," said Larry Edward Penley, president of Colorado State, who will give the welcome address at the event. "The roundtable will highlight the potential, capabilities and needs of Colorado’s tourism industry and identify ways we can work together to form the alliances needed to establish and sustain a productive vision for tourism in Colorado. It will assist Colorado State’s faculty in shaping its research, teaching and outreach programs and further collaboration in addressing the needs of the tourism industry."

Tourism is among the top industries in the state: In 2003, Colorado experienced nearly 25 million overnight visitors who spent $8.2 billion, resulting in $521 million in state and local tax revenues.

Representatives of private industry and a variety of land-use and tourism organizations are planning to attend the event, which was organized by Colorado State’s Department of Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism and the Program in Resort and Restaurant Management within the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.

"The economic benefits of tourism, particularly through employment and development opportunities, can add strength and vitality to communities," said Mike Manfredo, chairman of the Department of Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism within the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State. "But those benefits do not come without a price. There are a number of negative impacts that arise due to high levels of tourism in places like Colorado."

Those can include depletion of natural resources, overuse of water and energy resources, pollution and stress on wildlife.

Attendees at Thursday’s meeting will discuss building on the economic benefits of tourism while protecting the health and vitality of the resources on which the tourism industry depends, Manfredo said.

"Limits to the ability of Colorado’s natural resources to support an expanding tourism industry are finite," Manfedo said. "The need for sustainable and responsible planning and management throughout the private and public sectors is imperative for the industry to continue to flourish. It is our hope that the roundtable meeting can begin a process of collaboration that will result in a highly successful and sustainable tourism industry in Colorado."

Among the objectives of the roundtable:

– identify opportunities and challenges for Colorado in achieving growth potential of sustainable tourism;

– provide an ongoing forum for stakeholders in the industry; and

– identify ways that Colorado State’s educational, research and outreach programs can serve the industry.