Skip to content

Tayer: Visit Boulder – We Need It and Them!

June 24, 2024



Originally published by BizWest, June 21, 2024. 

By the time you’re reading this, you should already be aware of the collaborative efforts to welcome the Sundance Film Festival to Boulder. It’s one example of the many steps we take with our economic and community vitality partners to secure important business investment, cultural attractions and other economic catalysts. As I noted in my official comments regarding the Sundance Film Festival request for proposal (RFP):

John Tayer“While our mission aligns most clearly with the substantial economic benefits of hosting the Sundance Film Festival, we also relish the opportunity it offers to showcase Boulder’s rich arts and cultural assets, as well as our community’s commitment to achieving economic vitality goals in harmony with social equity and environmental values.”

While we are hopeful for our chances of drawing this iconic cultural event to our community, we are now in the midst of a competitive process that will take some time to resolve. Regardless of the RFP outcome, I’m proud of the high level of teamwork among local and statewide civic, higher-education and economic-vitality organizations this initiative entailed. In particular, the effort gave me a chance to experience the amazing work of a great partner, Visit Boulder.

For those who don’t know, Visit Boulder is the organization that entices visitors to our community who enjoy our cultural attractions, outdoor environment and special events. These also are the visitors who account for nearly a billion dollars in economic impact through the hotel beds that house them, the retail stores where they shop and in all the restaurants that tickle their taste buds.

All that activity resulted in total related tax revenue for 2023 in excess of $41 million. That’s an enormous percentage of the dollars that reach our government coffers and fund everything from your neighborhood pool and open-space trail to critical affordable housing and law-enforcement services. To put it in perspective, Boulder’s total sales-tax generation in 2023 was $141 million.

While there are a great deal of gems that draw visitors to town, such as that university on the hill, our Pearl Street Mall, Chautauqua Park, the Boulder International Film Festival, Dairy Center performances, the BolderBoulder and on and on … it’s the Visit Boulder team that toils every day to make sure word gets out to the international universe about these attractions, conference opportunities and generally what makes Boulder a special place to visit. If you want to enjoy a boost of pride in our town, I urge you to visit their website –

Of course, sharing our Boulder Chamber Center with the Visit Boulder offices, I’ve been familiar with the importance and special quality of their work. They are leaders in the national movement to advance sustainable tourism goals. When our community was failing in meeting its welcoming and inclusivity standards, it was Visit Boulder that developed a program in partnership with the NAACP to help hospitality establishments better adhere to our DE&I values. Led by their CEO, Charlene Hoffman, they also are just a fun group to team with through the trials and tribulations of our shared effort to strengthen Boulder’s economy.

But it’s been over the course of these past few months that I’ve experienced the full depth of Visit Boulder in action. In collaboration with the city of Boulder, the University of Colorado, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and our own Boulder Chamber team, Visit Boulder rallied our forces to help present a bid for Boulder to host the Sundance Film Festival that highlights the full spectrum of logistical strengths, event space offerings, wide-spectrum hotel accommodations, travel advantages, and hospitality amenities that make Boulder the perfect candidate to host the Sundance Film Festival.

Just as important, and true to form, Visit Boulder perfectly captured the unique qualities and values that make Boulder such a special place. Whether it’s our commitment to climate protection and environmentally sustainable values, our work to build a diverse and inclusive community, or our commitment to free expression through arts and public discourse, Visit Boulder helped tell our story in a manner that is true to Boulder’s spirit and values.

So, whether or not we succeed in this effort to secure the Sundance Film Festival, I want to share my appreciation for the leadership of Visit Boulder. Our town depends on the visitor economy as a critical element of our economic and community vitality. That’s why we’re fortunate to have such a strong organization in Visit Boulder … that keeps those visitors coming to Boulder.