A collaboration between Carbon County Tourism and the Coraggio Group has resulted in a destination development plan for the county.
Based out of Portland, Oregon, the Coraggio Group helps leaders and their teams get clear, focused and moving on their most important strategic and organizational challenges. Specifically for Carbon County, the plan was curated to foster growth in the county’s tourism industry to benefit not only visitors, but locals as well. The plan has an 11-year timeline to transform the county by 2030.
“The Carbon of 2030 will feel much different than it does today,” Coraggio shared in the plan. “New visitors, updated infrastructure and downtowns, and local authentic culture will have breathed new life into a county eager to be discovered.”
According to the plan, because of the work begun in 2019, tourism will have evolved into a key industry that leverages Carbon County’s historic and authentic past. “It will offer attractive downtown experiences, access to new-found outdoor wonders, unique prehistoric adventures and experiences, and updated camping and lodging options—all of which bring in new visitors, new sights and sounds, and evolve Carbon County from a pass-through destination to a basecamp,” the plan states.
To bring this ideal to fruition, Carbon County Tourism will lead the efforts with the assistance of the Community Economic Council, which will serve as the backbone of participating groups by ensuring that all of the necessary representatives come together on a regular basis to share progress, course-correct and strategize next steps.
Various forms of local, state and national government will also be a key to implementing the plan along with private industry, including tourism-based businesses. Key government participants will include Carbon County and its encompassing cities, Emery County, the Utah Office of Tourism, Bureau of Land Management and Utah State Parks. Other important participants will be USU Eastern and a public artworks committee.
The plan is broken into three phases: Catalyze the Destination, Increase Momentum and Solidify the Destination, each of which aim to capitalize on the area’s attractive qualities. Such unique Carbon County attractions include opportunities to explore less-known, less-crowded, awe-inspiring outdoor adventures as well as unique prehistoric attractions. Coraggio also highlighted the area’s Western Americana main street experiences supported by a burgeoning art scene and unexpected dining options as well as best-in-state, non-downhill snow sports. Finally, the group emphasized basecamp accommodations and supplies for visitors.
Each phase has specific action items along with potential partners for various aspects and possible monetary considerations. The first step in the plan will be to complete the rebranding process for the county, which began earlier this year with a collaboration between HUB LLC, Corragio Group, the Utah Office of Tourism and Carbon County.
The destination development plan aims its efforts at specific potential travelers, which have been deemed Wasatach weekenders, culture seekers, pit stoppers and week-long explorers. Each type of traveler is outlined in the plan with the possible purpose for visiting, what they are seeking, the time they will spend on average in the county and the community within the county that will be most appealing to them.
Wasatch weekenders will be looking for a casual yet physically-active weekend trip. Usually, they will have a few to-dos marked out, revolving around an activity such as biking or hiking. It is estimated that these travelers will spend one to three days in Carbon County and will actively seek lodging, dining, supplies and evening activities. With this information, it was determined that Price City will be the focus for the Wasatch weekenders.
Next are the culture seekers. These travelers will be seeking cultural activities along with quality items to purchase. They will also pursue museums, lodging and dining in their casual trip with no hard plans or itinerary. It is estimated that the culture seekers will spend one to three days in the area with focuses on Helper and East Carbon.
Pit stoppers, which were deemed to sit lowest on the totem pole, include those passing through the area on the way to or from Moab, the Swell, Lake Powell and Colorado. These travelers only spend an average of five minutes to two hours in the area as they seek restrooms, a snack or lunch, or a quick diversion. They often stop in Wellington, Helper or Price and do not stay long or spend much money in the area.
Finally, the week-long explorers spend on average three to five days in the area as the establish a basecamp in the area. During their planned vacation, they are seeking lodging, dining, supplies, evening activities and a full itinerary of things to do and see. These travelers will establish themselves in Price.
The plan aims to target these travelers and bring them to Carbon County with appealing aspects such as new and improved trails outdoor activities, a variety of dining and retail opportunities, a thriving art scene and updated infrastructure.
According to Coraggio, shaping the Carbon County experience will increase visitor spending. This increased revenue will serve two purposes: increasing things to do and see in the area as well as an increase in tax base, which will in turn provide more funds for improving and creating infrastructure within the community. As a result, not only will visitors enjoy their time in Carbon County, but there will be an increased quality of life for locals as they enjoy a boosted economy, improved infrastructure and more things to enjoy in their own backyard.