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Colorado Tourism targets safety messaging at Texas travelers

The marketing campaign features local celebrities urging tourists to follow local and state health guidelines.

COLORADO, USA — The Colorado Tourism Office is trying to prepare spring break travelers from Texas for the more stringent COVID-19 restrictions they'll find here compared to their home state.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott announced March 2 that Texas would no longer be subject to a statewide mask mandate.

Cathy Ritter, director of the Colorado Tourism Office, took note of the move. 

"There is a concern suddenly that the law is changing in Texas around mask-wearing," Ritter said.

Colorado is a popular vacation spot among Texans.

In 2019, it trailed only California as a top out-of-state market for overnight vacations to Colorado, and according to Ritter, spring break is one of the busiest travel seasons throughout our winter season.

In an attempt to bypass any confusion regarding health restrictions about COVID-19 in Colorado this spring break, the Tourism Office is ramping up safety messaging in other states, particularly in Texas. 

"We’re taking extra steps to make certain that people who are visiting our state from Texas know that Colorado still very much is requiring mask-wearing," Ritter said.

The Do Colorado Right campaign is part of that effort. 

Ads feature local celebrities like Bachelor Ben Higgins and Snowboarder Red Gerard, as well as 9Health Expert Dr. Payal Kohli, urging tourists to follow local and state health guidelines. 

"One of the markets that have responded most strongly and engaged the most with those videos is Texas," Ritter said.

The idea is to get in front of Texans who have already booked vacations to Colorado or have shown the intent to do so.

The Tourism Office says it is only promoting safety messaging to out-of-state markets. 

Some Colorado locations popular with tourists are taking safety measures into their own hands this spring break. 

The town of Breckenridge is hiring extra bodies to enforce the mask mandate there and ensure safety.

Ritter is confident Coloradans will protect themselves and encourage out-of-state visitors to do the same this spring break. 

"There may be a few challenges, but I do feel optimistic the people of Colorado are unified behind this message, and they’re prepared to share it with others," she said.

In 2019, direct travel spending in Colorado topped $24 billion, supported over 180,000 jobs, and generated $1.5 billion in local and state taxes.

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