The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 12

opportunities vary, Fey says there's
a common thread in meetings and
conversations with his counterparts around the U.S. "We're all
facing the same issues. It's when
do we reopen, how do we reopen,
maintenance backlogs, issues with
ignoring closure orders, traveling
outside of close-to-home, and how
that's impacting gateway and rural
communities."

THE NEW INNOVATION
Looking forward into summer
and beyond, there's a push-pull in
reopening those gateway communities, which need the economic
boost tourists provide, but also
don't have the hospital capacity
to handle a localized outbreak of
COVID-19. Amid that tension, the
urge to protect locals won out in
Moab, Utah, and Colorado's Gunnison County-home to Crested
Butte-where local governments
rolled up the welcome mat and
enacted orders that were the
equivalent of "no visitors allowed"
signs in March.
In anticipation of the summer
travel season, the Colorado Tourism Office is working on several
education campaigns for service
workers (restaurants, breweries,
and craft distillers are all part
of the tourism experience in
outdoor hot spots), and for locals
and visitors alike. "We have an
initiative we're calling Resident
Receptiveness," says Cathy Ritter, director of the CTO. "It really
is around educating residents
and visitors about these new
practices so communities can
feel comfortable welcoming
visitors into their midst, and so
visitors can feel comfortable."
The guidance in these campaigns is still under discussion.
"There might be wearing of
masks; there might be social distancing; we might be lifting up
air high-fives," she says. "I think
we're all going to have to navigate
our way into this new normal."

"WE'RE ALL FACING THE SAME ISSUES. IT'S
WHEN DO WE REOPEN, HOW DO WE REOPEN,
MAINTENANCE BACKLOGS, ISSUES WITH
IGNORING CLOSURE ORDERS, TRAVELING
OUTSIDE OF CLOSE-TO-HOME, AND HOW THAT'S
IMPACTING GATEWAY AND RURAL COMMUNITIES."
-Nathan Fey, Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office

The U.S. Travel Association
has been tracking travel spending across the country, and for the
week that ended April 18, it was
down 89% over the same week last
year. "We've been tracking the national trend closely," Ritter says. "In
other states, like Hawaii, it's down
95%." According to Ritter, there's
evidence that April represents the
trough of the downturn.
"There's a lot of research at
the national level that the safest
way travelers believe they can
transport themselves, by far, is

12 THE WEEKLY / OUTDOOR RETAILER SUMMER 2020

by car," she says. Ritter and her
peers suspect they'll see a lot of
families road-tripping into remote
areas this summer, either by car or
RV, so they can get out and enjoy
nature. "We are definitely hearing
there's a keen interest in exploring the outdoors, especially after
being cooped up inside."
SOME ASPECTS OF SUMMER FUN

look trickier to replicate this year,
though. Whitewater rafting outfitters face some particular hurdles
in the era of contagion: How do

you transport people to and from
the river and load them into a boat
while social distancing? How do
you clean all of the gear clients
shared from trip to trip?
Even after they've answered
those questions, the whitewater
industry will be even harder hit if
people aren't traveling, Ritter says.
"In Colorado, 75% of their clientele
is out-of-state visitors, and the
other 25% tend to be Colorado
residents who are entertaining
friends and family from out of
state," she says. "So they're very
reliant on tourism."
"And that's just one industry,"
she adds. "You start thinking about
all of the different facets-museums, hot springs-they each present their own set of challenges."
In the meantime, the tourism
office is working on procedures
for keeping people safe at their
welcome centers too. "In the past,
we trained our volunteers on fun
things to do in Colorado," Ritter
says. "Now we'll be training them
on infectious disease control."
As we head into the summer,
everyone will have to be responsible-and creative. For the outdoor
industry, the latter will come
naturally. "Our industry as a whole
is really innovative and thinking
outside the box for solutions," says
Fey, "and I have hope that we'll be
able to navigate this."
Fey is also upbeat about stewardship of our beloved outdoor
spaces just based on what he's
seeing in his own neighborhood.
"I see people walking more; I see
people being more intentional,
waving, saying hi more, picking
up trash around the neighborhood." People are investing in
the limited outdoor spaces they
have during the shutdown. "My
hope really is that this new ethic
will be stronger going forward.
Are we going to be taking care of
our public lands and the places
we play? Maybe this was an eye
opener for everyone."

CA R LO N AS I S S E

FEATURE



The Weekly - May 12, 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Weekly - May 12, 2020

Contents
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - Cover1
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - Cover2
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - Contents
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The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 16
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 17
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The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 20
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 21
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 22
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 23
The Weekly - May 12, 2020 - 24
https://www.nxtbook.com/emerald/outdoorretailer/dailySM2022_Day3
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