Economy Trickling into Tourism, GJ Visitor's Bureau Expecting Slower Year

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

The Grand Junction Visitor's and Convention Bureau is preparing for a slower year because of the ailing economy. They've just released their tourism projection for this year and although they're expecting less national travelers, they're hoping for more sightseers a little closer to home.

Tristan Sheets says a wine tour afternoon is the perfect get away from mommy duty, and not having to drive very far is just a bonus.

"We just wanted to have girls day where we don't have to go far from home especially with the travel costs," Sheets told 11 News on Friday.

Sheets is from Ecker. She says she usually takes two vacations a year but with her husband's hours in the natural gas industry getting cut back, she and her husband are having to cut back too.

"I would like to go to Mexico but i don't think it's going to happen this year."

Families like the Sheets are exactly who the Grand Junction Visitor and Conventions Bureau is counting on.

Marketing Coordinator Jennifer Grossheim Harris says more people are taking vacations close by.

"We've scaled back the national approach and we're really focusing on our market that we know is here," Grossheim Harris told 11 News on Friday.

She says the G.J.V.C.B is shifting advertising dollars and they're hoping the targeted advertising will draw more people to make up for drops in other tourism dollars.

"Business travel is going to cut back, leisure travel is probably going to cut back."

Grossheim Harris is expecting just a five percent increase in lodging tax. Compare that to 13 percent last year and 24 percent in 2007.

And that's why she says they're pushing Grand Junction's wineries, golf courses and outdoor activities in areas like Denver, Salt Lake City, Colorado Springs and other areas nearby.

And that advertising has worked on Tristan Sheets, who perused some pamphlets and has a new found love for Grand Valley wine.

"That's I think one of the best things the Western Slope has to offer."

And as far as that exotic beach trip, "I hope things turn around to go to mexico," said Sheets.

But until things turn around, Sheets is taking a vino vacation.

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