Grand Valley tourism increases recognized

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GRAND JUNCTION The Grand Valley has all of the ingredients for a perfect vacation spot and the word is getting out.

In honor of National Tourism Week the state's tourism office put together a list of intriguing places to travel in Colorado and Grand Junction made the cut.

"It's really starting to happen for Grand Junction and Palisade and Fruita," Owner of High Country Orchards and Colterris Winery Teresa High said. "It's our time and it's because we're starting to make great wines and we have great hiking, biking and adventure."

The Colorado Department of Tourism is spending the next couple of days in the area to familiarize themselves with the Agri-tourism that is drawing so many people in.

"There is this can-do spirit," Laura Grey from the Colorado Tourism Office said. "Everywhere we have been today, we haven't met a lazy person once. When they're not doing one thing they're doing something else."

Agri-tourism is defined, by Colorado, as activities on farms and ranches and since recent legislation was passed that will help engage farmers and ranchers, the Colorado Tourism Office believes Colorado can compete as an agricultural hot spot.

"We have some stiff competition in the areas of agri-tourism," Grey said. "There are some states that are out a little bit ahead of us."

The scenery of the Colorado National Monument is another highlight of the Grand Valley and with the possibility of it becoming a national park, some think the move would create another anchor in the area's tourism industry.

One Grand Junction resident said in 2003 he visited the Western Slope on a business trip and hasn't been able to leave since.

"This whole plateau is unique in the world," Grand Junction Resident Robert Montoya said. "There's nothing else like it in the world for the geology, for the animals, for the scenery."

Over the past few years tourism numbers across the state have risen and experts expect the trend to continue.

"Palisade, Fruita, Grand Junction... this isn't Disney World, this is real and I think that's part of what makes it the most amazing vacation you could pick," Grey said.

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