When the director of any organization moves on, the organization can either enter into turmoil or see the transition as an opportunity to regroup and re-energize. The Durango Area Tourism Office is most certainly taking the latter approach: re-evaluating our organization to achieve goals and create economic development.
The DATO board of directors and current staff members have set an aggressive though achievable goal to become the best independent, direct-marketing organization in the United States.
Given the amazing natural assets and the incredible people in this community, our organization can make this a reality. DATO is excited about the opportunities that lie ahead while we search for a new executive director who shares our vision.
Tourism is truly economic development. When visitors come to the Durango area, they stay in various lodging while spending their dollars in restaurants, retail shops and on all the great activities we have to offer.
Tourism means jobs to all these businesses – and who doesn’t need a few more jobs in this economy? These visitors’ dollars are left in the community in the form of the lodgers tax and sales tax when they leave. This is why DATO’s role in attracting visitors is so vital.
The lodgers tax is not only the funding source for DATO from the city of Durango and La Plata County but also the barometer of our performance. Recent reports from the city of Durango indicate May lodgers-tax collection was up 12.5 percent compared with May 2011 and is up 8.6 percent year-to-date.
City sales-tax collections for the same year-to-date time period is up 5 percent as a comparison. And La Plata County lodgers-tax revenue is up 38 percent for the first quarter of 2012 compared with 2011, and that comes after a 10 percent increase in all of 2011 compared with 2010.
DATO staff members have not missed a beat during our transition period, and we recently hired Susan Lander as our interim director. As a former DATO board member, Lander has extensive knowledge of DATO, so we welcome her to the team. Susan will ensure that we continue to have a seamless transition.
Finally, DATO is one of four partners in the new downtown Durango Welcome Center. This center will enhance our visitors’ experience and keep tourism strong.
We couldn’t have done this without the great partnerships that our community enjoys. DATO would like to thank the Business Improvement District, The city of Durango and Fort Lewis College for partnering with DATO to make the Welcome Center a reality.
email@example.com Kris Oyler is the current chairman of the Durango Area Tourism Office Board of Directors.