1:30pm

Thu May 10, 2012
Business

Transportation Improvements May Increase NoCo Tourism

A Colorado State University audit has identified areas of growth in what is a lucrative industry: tourism. 

The audit was part of a project between students enrolled at CSU’s Warner College and the Fort Collins Convention and Visitors Bureau. A focus was to highlight opportunities for keeping tourists in Northern Colorado longer.

One issue found in the report, highlights the absence of extensive public transportation. That's keeping the region from capitalizing on key tourist destinations like Rocky Mountain National Park and area craft breweries.

Speaking to KUNC, Executive Director of the Bureau Jim Clark says that's the challenge.

“Ground transportation in Colorado and at least in our area, is pretty much limited to people with cars. If you visit here in the winter time you can go from the airport in Denver to a ski area and spend a week vacation and not have an automobile. That’s hard to do here and in the rest of the state.”

The Fort Collins Coloradoan says Fort Collins is not the only city that has transportation issues.

Transportation also is seen as a weakness in Estes Park, where crowded roads and insufficient parking degrade the tourists’ experience, the report said.

“When you’re driving Elkhorn Avenue and have to sit there for 20 minutes to wait for a couple red lights, it would be huge to lessen the congestion up there,” said Emily Bauer, a natural resource, recreation and tourism major at CSU.

Clark says Fort Collins has tried to promote itself as a base camp for Northern Colorado. He hopes to continue finding ways to increase the time tourists spend in the region, like fostering collaborations with neighboring cities like Estes Park and Loveland.