Tourism industry officials expressed concern Friday (June 21) that publicity surrounding recent Colorado wildfires is prompting some out-of-state residents to cancel their reservations unnecessarily.
“Several of our members have told us that publicity surrounding the wildfires is leading people to cancel their travel plans to areas unaffected by summer wildfires,” Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the Denver-based National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC), told Woodall’s Campground Management.
Bambei added, “This is not only unfortunate for the family owned and operated campgrounds involved, but it hurts all of Colorado’s tourism businesses, from restaurants and gift shops to tour operators who take travelers river rafting, horseback riding, hiking and biking through some of the most spectacular scenery in the Rocky Mountains.”
Bambei urged reporters to use caution when describing the location of wildfires this summer and to make a better effort to highlight the vast areas of Colorado that have not been affected in any way by recent wildfires.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “national news reports do not often state the precise location of wildfires nor do they state when such fires have been contained.”
Bambei also urged travelers concerned about recent wildfires to contact campground operators first for the latest information about visitor access to scenic attractions. He added that many travelers who come to Colorado have not been affected by the recent fires.
“We did everything we wanted to do while we were there,” said east Texas retiree Avalon Stewart, who stayed at Royal View Campground this past Sunday through Tuesday with her husband, Bobby. “We went up to Cripple Creek and Victor. We rode the train. Did the museums, the typical tourist things. We went up to Florence and did some shopping in Cañon City. Everything is fine. We were there with two other couples. We had a wonderful time.”
The Stewarts, who have stayed in the Royal Gorge Region each of the past five years, have since moved on to Salida before they’ll head north and east toward Estes Park. “If I had a trip planned and it included going to Cañon City, I don’t think I would be canceling,” Stewart said.