Chamber column: Focus on destination stewardship

Lisa Langer

Many tourist communities are focusing on destination stewardship with increased interest over the past few years. What does that mean for Glenwood Springs?

Let’s first look at the industry definitions:

  • agencyAn ethical value that embodies responsible planning and resource management.
  • Destination supervisionA management and planning approach that helps to balance and meet the needs of the destination and its communities through full cooperation between the public and private sectors.
  • sustainable tourismTourism that meets the needs of visitors, industry, the environment and the host community, taking into account the environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts of the present and the future.

In Colorado, destination stewardship efforts have been accelerated due to the influx of visitors to mountain towns during the pandemic. Although the steady flow of guests to Glenwood Springs has now begun to wane, in large part because people are now able to travel more freely, Visit Glenwood Springs continues to work to balance the economic outlook of this dynamic industry with the desired quality of life. for residents.

Here are some of the initiatives Visit Glenwood Springs has already taken.

In 2019, in the pre-pandemic period, we partnered with the City and Forest Service to launch a successful reservation and shuttle service to mitigate the heavy visits and environmental impacts of large crowds to Hanging Lake. Although shuttle service has been suspended due to the pandemic, Grizzly Creek Fire and subsequent debris flows, the reservation system and route facilitation remain in place and continue to receive glowing reviews from those who visit this national natural landmark. This model of federal public-private collaboration has been adapted for Maroon Bells and other outdoor recreation areas in Colorado and beyond.

In 2021 we formed the Roaring Fork Valley Destination Alliance, made up of destination management and marketing organizations including Aspen, Snowmass, Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. This new alliance was created during the pandemic to promote responsible visitation messages at the valley level and to create better communications about disaster mitigation.

A visit to Glenwood Springs includes Colorado sponsorship (leave no trace) messages in our blogs, social content, and on Along with other Colorado destinations and tourism based industries, we have become a member of the Colorado Sponsorship. This rating demonstrates the community’s commitment to entertainment and responsible and respectful visitation.

Moving forward, visit Glenwood Springs The City of Glenwood Springs Tourism Board is committed to pursuing a destination stewardship plan. As we look at ways to improve residents’ quality of life, it is essential to protect and support the tourism industry in our community. Without it, we risk losing our economic vitality along with many of our favorite small businesses, attractions, and community members who operate in this vital business sector. It’s also important to realize that taxes brought in by tourists pay for the city’s parks, trails, and other major assets and infrastructure.

With a holistic approach to destination management, Visit Glenwood Springs looks to balance community visits and financial stability while protecting the natural environment in which we live and work. For more information on visiting Glenwood Springs, contact [email protected]. To learn more about Colorado’s efforts at destination stewardship, visit

Lisa Langer and Heidi Bankoff are employees of Visit Glenwood Springs, a management of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. For more information visit