Members of Palisade’s Tourism Advisory Board (TAB) met on Tuesday afternoon, September 8, in the Veterans Community Center with members of the Board of Directors of the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau in a prelude to the GJVCB’s regular monthly meeting later that afternoon.

Discussion followed a loosely organized agenda, mostly on the topic of how to best market the Grand Valley to potential tourism guests. The term ‘Grand Valley’ was discussed, particularly as it includes both Palisade and Fruita in addition to Grand Junction. Also included in the emphasized marketing area are Powderhorn Mountain Resort, Gateway Canyons Resort and the Colorado National Monument. The Grand Valley can also boast of great mountain and road biking, dinosaur history and artifacts, peaches, and wine touring and tasting.

A GJVCB survey found that most often it is the special events that initially bring tourists to the area, not the general mix of activities and recreation areas. Those are what keep people here or bring them back.

The general consensus of those attending was that ALL areas of the valley are important when it comes to drawing guests to the western slope. Approximately 50% of the publicized events in the Grand Valley take place outside of the Grand Junction city limits.

Non-Stop Flight to LAX?

Also discussed was the importance of gaining a non-stop daily flight to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in the economic development of the Grand Valley. Although there is currently a non-stop daily flight from Grand Junction to Dallas, a flight to the west coast, increasing accessibility to Asia, is desirable for developing any kind of industry here in the valley. Colorado Mesa University also recruits heavily from the west coast and would conceivably benefit from such a flight. It is hoped that a decision will be reached within the next couple of weeks on the awarding of the flight, although it wouldn’t be operational till next spring sometime.

Another important market for tourism advertising is Salt Lake City and the surrounding areas, up into Park City. TAB member Felix Iovanni of Vistas and Vineyards Bed & Breakfast mentioned that he had seen “lots of Utah plates on cars at PeachFest, and also at the wineries that weekend.”

Jean Tally of the Wine Country Inn in Palisade also spoke of their successful advertising in the Devour Utah magazine, as well as in Texas Monthly, and the benefits of each.

Collection of lodging fees was also discussed, in relation to organizations such as AirBnB, VRBO, and other ‘self-booked’ lodging providers. The GJVCB felt confident that the majority of new lodging members is paying their fair share of the 3% fee, also noting the recent rapid growth of that section of lodging providers.

Cameo sport shooting complex progress

Palisade’s Town Administrator Rich Sales reported on progress with the sport shooting complex at Cameo, mentioning that he had just mailed out contracts to Xcel Energy and Snowcap Coal in the last week. Once the land purchase is complete, the design process can begin. RFPs (Requests For Proposals) have gone out for assistance in the facility design. Colorado Parks and Wildlife will also have a major role in the design.

Sales envisions a year-round facility, able to host major competitions as well as training and practice functions. Retail opportunities are a possibility as well, with the town retaining ownership of the property. Originally, it was planned that the town would sell the property back to the state ten years after the facility was opened, but the state has since requested that the town retain ownership and lease the facility to the state instead.

TAB members attending Tuesday’s meeting included Tally, Rich Sales, Chair Cassidee Shull, Juliann Adams, Ron Quarles, Brant Harrison, Roger Granat, Felix Iovanni and Rondo Buecheler. The next meeting of the Tourism Advisory Board is scheduled for Tuesday, October 13, 2015, at noon in the Board Meeting Room at 341 W. 7th Street in Palisade.