Get your early bird tickets today!
Enjoy conference rooms with a view + travel in style in our luxury coach!
Empowering Rural Destination Partners
Get inspired, find a mentor or be one, get to know your peers, travel to 3 DIFFERENT destinations, hear what others are doing to attract visitors to their destinations and find opportunities to collaborate in this 3-day tourism summit from La Junta to Trinidad.
Wednesday, April 3
5:30 - 7:30pm Welcome Reception and Registration
Koshare Museum, 115 West. 18th St., La Junta
To kick off the Summit, you will gather, eat and network with your fellow attendees at a Welcome Reception hosted by the La Junta Tourism Board and the City of La Junta.
The Koshare Museum is one of Colorado's great repositories of Southwest art and Native American artifacts. Because you understand the benefits of networking, you will not miss this social event.
Thursday, April 4
7:45am All Aboard!
Otero Junior College, Gym Parking Lot, 1801 Colorado
Your luxury Motor Coach will be leaving the OJC Gym parking lot (shared lot with the Koshare Museum) bright and early. Be sure to give yourself extra time to pick up your registration information at the Koshare Museum, if you have not already done so. There is plenty of free parking at OJC. Juice and granola bars will be available on the bus, but if you require something more robust, you should check out the Copper Kitchen at 118 Colorado Ave., La Junta. They open at 6:00am. You won't be sorry you did. Or, if you bring your cup or drinking vessel, we will refill your coffee before you get on the Bus.
8:00 - 9:30am La Junta to Walsenburg - On Board Session
Speaker: Tony Gurzick, Colorado Parks & Wildlife, Creative Services and ,marketing Section Manager
While en route to Walsenburg, your first destination of the day, you will get a chance to discover the beauty of the low mesas and gulches in Southeast Colorado. Through the windows of the luxury coach and on the screen in front of you, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the geography, wildlife and history of Colorado.
Lathrop State Park, Visitor Welcome Center, Walsenburg
9:45 - 10:30am How To Get Your Story Told?
Speaker: Carly Holbrook, Public Relations - CTO
The Colorado Tourism Office PR team works directly with over 100 media outlets nationwide by offering them story ideas, arranging press visits, transportation, interviews with CTO officials, tourism industry partners, local experts and more. Carly's informative presentation will focus on how you can help her, help you, get your story known.
10:45 - 11:30am Working With Public Lands
Speaker: Linda Skinner, Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wants to partner with neighboring communities to enhance the visitor's outdoor experience.
This is relevant to any destination that is interested in boosting their recreational options for both the residents and visitors.
Noon - 1:00pm "A Taste of Spanish Peaks Country" Lunch
Walsenburg Golf Course
1:15 - 2:15pm On Board from Walsenburg to Trinidad
Mother Jones - The Miners Angel
2:15pm Arrive at the A.R. Mitchell Museum of Art, Trinidad
2:30 - 5:00pm Experience what Trinidad is doing to put themselves back on the map.
After the coal mines closed in the late 1960s, Trinidad, Colorado suffered an economic depression that has lingered for over 50 years.
Today Trinidad is embracing its past to grow it's future and bring Trinidad back to its former glory.
You will be inspired by these 3 presentations on how Trinidad is fighting their way back to economic prosperity.
The Magic of Trinidad, Corazon de Trinidad Chair
Speaker: Marilyn Leuszler, Trinidad Creative District
Marilyn has been a strong arts advocate and community activist for over 40 years, teaching art workshops for youth and adults while maintaining her studio and business. She serves as Chair of the Corazon de Trinidad Creative District and is an active participant in Space to Create Trinidad, a $19 million project that will transform three turn-of-the-century buildings on Main Street and a nearby section of land into 41 affordable live/work units for the creative workforce. As well, she is a member of Dana Crawford's local Fox West Theater advisory team in Trinidad.
Getting Visitor Ready
Speaker: Cy Michaels, President Trinidad Tourism Board
Cy Michaels has been involved in the tourism industry, operating businesses in Trinidad, for over 25 years. Cy holds the community she has called home for over 20 years very dear to her heart and the economic diversity and impact to Trinidad that tourism brings into the community is a very passionate one to her. As a result of this passion, she was selected by the Colorado Tourism Office to serve on the State Colorado Leadership Journey board to bring better tourism to our southern Colorado area.
Ms. Michaels has been a recipient of an impressive list of awards and recognitions, both locally and nationally and has been a Partner and General Manager of the La Quinta Inn and Suites Wellness Hotel in Trinidad since 2007.
Building Tourism into an Economic Development Strategy
Speaker: Tara Marshall, Dir. of Development Services, Trinidad
In 2012 - 2013, Trinidad suffered the sudden loss of 1,200 jobs and the families attached to them when a petroleum company pulled out of their town. They had an immediate problem with maintaining city utilities, which were losing money, downtown buildings emptying, and the Trinidaddio Festival cancelled. With the help of Colorado Creative Industries, and other philanthropic bodies, Trinidad has a turned the corner. Tara's story is inspirational and will offer solutions for us all.
5:30 - 7:00pm "Taste of Trinidad" at the A.R. Michell Museum of Art
7:00pm All Aboard!
7:15 - 9:00pm Return to La Junta via the Santa Fe Trail
On Board Session - Saga of the Santa Fe Trail
Speaker: Rick Wallner, Retired Bent's Old Fort Chief of Interpretation & Visitor Center Services
The history of the Santa Fe Trail reads like a saga of the old west. Hear retired Chief of Interpretation for Bent's Old Fort, Rick Wallner, tell the story of the Santa Fe Trail on the trip from Trinidad back to La Junta.
Rick served as Chief of Interpretation at Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site outside of La Junta, Colorado from 2002 - 2018. He managed the Trails & Rails program aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief between La junta and Albuquerque for 15 years. Rick's career with the National Park Service spanned over 30 years. When not working in a park, Rick enjoys visiting them. He has visited 371 of 418 National Park Units in the country.
9:00pm La Junta After Hours (on your own)
Visit The Railyard (114 Colorado Avenue) for drinks, Boss Hoggs Saloon (808 E. 3rd ) for a late night dinner or Lucy's Tacos (17 E. 3rd Street) for a late night snack.
Friday, April 5
8:00 - 9:00am Breakfast
Otero Junior College, Student Center, Banquet Room
2001 San Juan Avenue, La Junta
9:00 - 11:00am Colorado Tourism Office - Rural Tourism
Hear from Cathy Ritter, Director of the Colorado Tourism Office, and Elizabeth O'Rear, Manager of Destination Development at this intimate Friday morning session.
Cathy will give a high-level overview of CTO, new rural tourism initiatives and sustainability while discussing how CTO is working with the non-urban, non-ski resort areas of Colorado to bring more visitor traffic to rural Colorado communities.
Elizabeth's presentation will provide an overview of the CTO's Destination Development program, especially CRAFT: Colorado Rural Academy For Tourism. If you are looking for ways to advance your tourism-related goals, or develop new tourism products, the Colorado Rural Academy For Tourism (CRAFT) is for you. CRAFT offers training to teach rural communities on how to build tourism into an economic development strategy. Elizabeth will walk you through each opportunity and explain in detail how and why your community should take advantage of CRAFT.
11:00 - 11:30am SOCO Tourism Wrap Up
Post-summit self-guided tours
Lodging in La Junta covers a wide range from luxury accommodations to comfortable camping and everything in between! There is something just right for you no matter what your needs are. Find the right accommodations and make La Junta your base of operations as you explore all the exciting attractions and sites La Junta and the historic Arkansas Valley has to offer.
Empowering Rural Destination Partners