What Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry chief envisions for the Outdoor Retailer trade shows in Denver
Planned events, rallies and promotions designed to entice outdoor businesses to Colorado
October 30, 2017
GRAND JUNCTION — Imagine artists, musicians, distillers and beermakers mixing with policy shapers and gearmakers three times a year in Denver. That's Luis Benitez's vision for the Outdoor Retailer trade shows, which arrive in Colorado in January for a five-year run after a hard-won fight.
The more-than-a-trade-show plan looks something like this: Colorado destinations will come to Denver and pitch their places as potential new homes for gearmakers and trade show attendees; government officials and advocates will discuss recreational access, climate and public lands. It will be a purposeful party built around retail trade shows that spills well beyond the floor of the Colorado Convention Center.
"It's Colorado's job — it's all of our jobs — to activate around the show," Benitez, the state's outdoor recreation industry chief, told a group at the Governor's Tourism Conference on Thursday in Grand Junction. "It's going to be super cool."
The Outdoor Retailer trade shows in January, June and November mark a big moment for Colorado. It's not just the annual economic bump for Denver — which is big, considering the combined Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show confab in January will draw about 20,000 attendees who already have booked more than 6,500 rooms, a showing that will probably be mirrored in June and November. It's a chance for Colorado to pitch itself as the new home for all things outdoors.
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