A $40,000 marketing match grant will allow 10 locations throughout Colorado to continue their efforts in promoting dark skies.
VistaWorks, a Colorado-based destination marketing agency, today announced the Colorado Tourism Office awarded Colorado Stargazing: Experience the Night a $40,000 marketing match grant to continue its promotion of the self-guided stargazing tour that draws visitors to rural Colorado while also advocating for low-impact travel.
In partnership with Custer County, Huerfano County, Colorado’s West End (Nucla, Naturita, and Norwood), the City of Alamosa, the Town of Ridgway, the City of Gunnison, Mineral County, and the Town of Crestone, Colorado Stargazing contributed a 2:1 financial match for the grant.
The stargazing experience launched with seven locations in March 2020. Those locations included La Veta, Cuchara, Westcliffe/Silver Cliff, The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Crestone, Creede, and Lake City. Later that year, Colorado Stargazing won the Outstanding Marketing Program Award at the 2020 Governor’s Tourism Conference, held virtually at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Today, the tour includes 10 locations, with Gunnison, Ridgway, and Nucla, Naturita, and Norwood added in 2021.
Among the 10 featured locations, visitors will find International Dark-Sky Association designated places, areas just starting the designation process, and everything in between. All of these communities are unified by their high elevation and low humidity, allowing for some of the best stargazing in the world.
Colorado Stargazing: Experience the Night can be found on Colorado.com/ColoradoStargazing, a comprehensive stargazing resource including logos, a branded map, event listings, stargazing sites, an album of sparkling images, suggestions for daytime activities to lengthen stays, and a media kit to help promote the offering.
VistaWorks helped the involved locations apply for the grant, which will finance the continued promotion of the stargazing program. VistaWorks continues to work with Colorado Stargazing, assisting with event promotion, content creation, marketing via social media and Google paid ads, and public relations.
“VistaWorks is honored to be a part of Colorado Stargazing: Experience the Night. This project allowed us to showcase rural communities and promote environmental stewardship of our night skies. These communities all have something special, a night sky that most people have never seen before. Interest has skyrocketed from the very beginning, creating a travel opportunity that encourages increased visitation and overnight stays. Get out there and enjoy our night skies!” says Bryan Jordan, Chief Officer of Thought for VistaWorks.
In awarding this grant to Colorado Stargazing: Experience the Night, the Colorado Tourism Office recognizes the program’s aim to drive visitation to rural areas while also promoting environmental stewardship. The self-guided stargazing tour is also a novel travel opportunity for all ages that leads to one of tourism’s most coveted economic benefits—overnight stays.
The assets created by Colorado Stargazing have generated buzz on social media as well as coverage from Condé Nast Traveler, Matador Network, National Geographic, and more at a time when travelers are looking for less-visited areas to explore.
For more information, visit colorado.com/coloradostargazing.