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Representative Julie McCluskie and Colorado Business Leaders Underscore Importance of Digital Tools in Tourism Economy

FORT COLLINS, COLORADO (APRIL 8, 2021) – Colorado State Representative Julie McCluskie joined business leaders and small business owners for a virtual webinar this week on the importance of digital infrastructure in supporting recovery and resiliency in the state’s tourism economy. “Tech Forward Webcast: How Tech is Driving Recovery in Colorado’s Tourism Economy” was hosted by Rob Retzlaff, Chief of Staff at the Connected Commerce Council, a non-profit membership organization representing digitally empowered small businesses. 

Representative Julie McCluskie discussed resiliency and adaptability within the small business community today, particularly among those who leverage digital tools and services: “I am absolutely delighted with some of the impressive technological advancements and changes that our small businesses have used in order to combat pandemic-related challenges. Because of these harsh and challenging times, we have seen innovation bubble up and improve systems in ways we might never have realized before. The technology sector has also made considerable investments in our state, becoming leading employers and attracting top talent. The marriage of tourism, travel, and tech is important to what’s happening in Colorado’s economic development.” 

Mark Wong, owner of Wong Wares in Manitou Springs, discussed how his business has pivoted during the pandemic with the support of online platforms: “I needed to find a way for people to get their hands on some clay – and be safe about it. So, I started a service where I dropped off a work board and clay and created a YouTube channel where customers could see how to do some hand-building at home.” 

“As the pandemic wore on, we created an e-commerce site in a matter of weeks, giving a platform for local small businesses. We had a number of business owners who said, without this tool, they may have gone out of business,” remarked Cynthia Eichler, President and CEO of Visit Fort Collins. “We’ve seen how creative and innovate we can be, and I think there is more of that to come.” 

“Colorado’s political leadership absolutely needs to play a role in supporting small businesses, and frankly the best way to do that is embracing technology, digital tools, and broadband infrastructure,” noted Chris Romer, President and CEO at the Vail Valley Partnership. “Colorado is a global community competing for talent, investment, and jobs. We need to be pro-technology and view these tools and resources as our partners in recovery and partners in economic growth – not from an overly regulatory standpoint.”

To view a recording of the webinar, visit: https://youtu.be/b7otpPQ_YE8

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