Visit Aurora 


WHEN:  May 8, 2017, 6:30 – 7:00pm – networking, 7:00 – 7:15pm – Short Business Meeting, Program, 7:15.  Introduce Pam Martinez.  

WHERE:  Visit Aurora Office 2260 South Xanadu Way, Suite 200, Aurora, CO 80014. 

PROGRAM:  Visit Aurora is the Destination Marketing Organization for the City of Aurora.  What exactly is a Destination Marketing Organization?

RMGA Membership Meeting Review 

 Visit Aurora

The membership meeting was held at Visit Aurora where we were welcomed by the new President CEO – Bruce Dalton; Events & Agritourism Manager, Pam Martinez; and Director of Communications, Randi Westervelt.  They provided wonderful appetizers and soft drinks.  Each attendee received a copy of the Visit Aurora Official Guide, YUM Aurora (a guide to Aurora restaurants) and a “passport” to the 2nd Annual Explore Aurora Craft Brews Tour (a joint venture between Visit Aurora and the Aurora Public Library). 

A very short business meeting with President Mike Pearl presiding was held – Mike and Steve Kaverman each gave a 3-5 minute tour introduction that they use when giving tours.  These short introductions were to show examples of what a tour introduction should include for your guests whether your tour is on a coach or on foot.

Lily Ewing gave an update on the upcoming Leadville FAM (May 30th) and also had application forms for those interested.  Mike also reminded all that there are no membership meetings during the summer months (June-September) due to members’ work schedules. 

Larry Foos introduced Bruce Dalton, the brand-new (only three weeks) President and CEO of Visit Aurora.  Visit Aurora is only seven years old and was developed by Gary Wheat (who recently moved on to Macon, Georgia).  The Visit Aurora Official Guide shows that Aurora tourism supports 7,000 jobs and a $19 billion tourism economy.

Bruce Dalton gave us an overview of his background in tourism – beginning as a bellman at the Twin Bridges Marriott Hotel in the DC area at the age of 18, through his college years and various venues since then, including Charlottesville (VA), Grapevine, San Antonio, and Fort Worth in Texas, Nashville, and Hawaii.  He commented that Grapevine has a population of 50,000 and is part of the Dallas- Fort Worth metro area of 6.5 million people. 

Visit Aurora is a 501c (6) corporation funded by the Lodger’s Tax.  This tax varies by hotel – generally 14.25% for each hotel night – of which half goes to the city and half to the state.  Visit Aurora was started in 2010 to “sell” Aurora to tourism and today has a $2 million budget.  There are 43 properties in Aurora and places East of Denver that are part of the membership. 

Gaylord has come to Aurora – there have been many articles in the newspaper about the development of the Gaylord Rockies resort in Aurora (a typical mountain resort).  Gaylord has eight resorts – each of which has a restaurant similar the “Old Hickory Steak House” that will be in Aurora.  In the past couple of years, there has been some discussion about moving the Stock Show to Aurora – not happening in the near future. 

The City of Aurora is working on development to the north of I-70 off Tower Road, near DIA.  The City has two parcels of property – one of 85 acres and another of 180 acres.  Bruce also commented that Amazon has a 1 million sq. ft. facility nearby. 

The role of Visit Aurora is to utilize the resources available to bring business to Aurora by encouraging people from other places to come to Aurora where there are hotels and visitor attractions.  The challenge is that Aurora has always been a bedroom community for Denver and Aurora wants to change that perception to have people see Aurora as a destination.  Bruce commented that the Fitzsimmons Medical Complex will grow.  Aurora expects to see gradual changes also on Colfax Avenue and development moving from Aurora to the west along Colfax.  Aurora has a population of 370,000 and is growing – moving to the East where there is more land for development.  Aurora is also in three counties – Arapahoe, Adams and Douglas – requiring the various counties to work together for the future of the city. 
All in all, an interesting presentation showing that Visit Aurora is a vibrant group working to develop tourism even more in Aurora. 
The following is contact information for Bruce:

Bruce Dalton, President / CEO
Visit Aurora
2260 South Xanadu Way, Suite 200
Aurora, CO 80014
720.484.8904 – direct
817.994.7732 – mobile – also on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram

-- Nancy Brueggeman

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