Wildfires impacting tourism

By: Christy Dimond Email
By: Christy Dimond Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – Rampant wildfires across the state have tourists hesitant to travel to Colorado for summer vacations. As a result, local businesses dependent on tourism are concerned.

Tom Kleinschnitz, owner of Adventure Bound Rafting, says out-of-state people have the perception from national headlines that the entire state of Colorado is on fire.

“People call and just need to be informed about where the fire is and whether its affecting your particular tour,” Kleinschnitz said.

At Melrose Hotel, in downtown Grand Junction, manager Henry Starks said his business took a hit from wildfires last year, with about ten percent of the people who canceled being in-state visitors who couldn’t travel because their homes were threatened by wildfires. He says tourists have misconceptions about the locations of the fires.

“It's 200 or 300 miles away from us, we're western Colorado so it's a whole different part of the state,” Stark said. “But, people get confused.”

With more than ten active fires currently burning across the state, officials at the Grand Junction Visitors and Convention Bureau (VCB) say they’re carrying on with business as usual to try to reassure and reach out to hesitant visitors.

“You'll see very upbeat posts on twitter and Facebook and other social channels, you'll see more content on the website, all the regular press releases,” said Mistalynn Meyerann, marketing director for the VCB.

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