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New West Daily Roundup for Oct. 11, 2016

Today in New West news: “spreading around” Colorado tourism, Toronto solar firm partners with Auric Solar, Utah Business’ Green Business Awards, and what Wyoming plans to do with their State Trade and Expansion Program grant.

According to the Denver Post, as tourism continues to boom in the Centennial State (for reference, 77.7 million people visited Colorado, spending a total of $19.1 billion). Indeed, Colorado has rebounded mightily from the ebb in tourism prompted by the Great Recession. Some parts of the state, however, have started to feel the strain of overtourism, while other parts yearn for a redistribution of sorts. From the Post:

“I have been hearing it non-stop. A lot of people don’t really want more travelers in Colorado,” [Colorado Tourism Office chief Cathy] Ritter said. “I understand that and I appreciate it. Even the tourism people in the mountains are saying ‘Don’t send us any more travelers. We don’t need any more travelers.’ But there are many parts of our state that do want more travelers.”

But the tourists continue to flow, particularly to Denver and mountain resorts, where visitor traffic and spending are climbing, the agency learned in June, during its first listening tour.

The new Colorado Tourism Roadmap focuses on ways promotion efforts can encourage those spendthrift visitors to explore the less trafficked corners of the state, like the Western Slope’s Grand Valley and parts of the Eastern Plains.

That shift would accompany the state’s recent transition toward a more national marketing campaign, rather than focusing on neighboring states and a few select cities that generate the most Colorado visitors. The expanded marketing is paying off, with spending from West Coast travelers growing to 14 percent of all Colorado tourism spending in 2015 from 9 percent in 2011. Spending by visitors from the Northeast grew to 8 percent last year from 5 percent in 2011.

The initial tour also found that owners of tourism businesses in quieter corners of the state want economic development tools that can help them better pitch their regions as vacation destinations.

Ritter said her office could work with the state office of economic development to develop more opportunities for tourism entrepreneurs “who can connect the dots for travelers.”

Ritter’s full itinerary is below:

Fort Collins, Oct. 11, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Drake Centre

Denver, Oct. 11, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan State University Denver Hospitality Center

Limon, Oct. 12, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Hub City Senior Center

Pueblo, Oct. 12, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Rawlings Library

Salida, Oct. 13, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Salida SteamPlant

Vail, Oct. 13, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Grand View Room

Grand Junction, Oct. 14, 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at City Hall Auditorium

Durango, Oct. 14, 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites

Brush, Nov. 3, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Morgan County Fairgrounds

Over in Utah, according to Utah Business, Toronto-based Silfab Solar announced late last week their partnership with Auric Solar, a leading solar installation business in Utah and Idaho, and distributor Russell Pacific to supply Auric with “all-black, high-quality modules” for their panels:

The Auric contract is the latest for Silfab, which produces high-quality, high efficiency modules that are an ideal fit for homeowners and commercial operations looking to get more solar with less modules. Auric Solar, recently named as one of Inc. magazine’s 500 fastest growing companies, is purchasing Silfab’s latest 300Wp module that the company debuted at last month’s Solar Power International conference. Distributor Russell Pacific (RP) handles all aspects of Auric’s module procurement and was a key partner in the deal.

“Auric focuses on North American made quality components, exceptional service and a world class solar experience that we have pioneered and are constantly perfecting. Aligning with partners who have a track record of success and a long-term minded leadership group fits perfectly within our company’s philosophy and practices. As we look to enter the next phase of Auric’s future, the clear long-term choice for us was Silfab,” said Jess Phillips, principal of Auric Solar, which currently has the most positive reviews in America.

The Auric agreement further strengthens Silfab’s position as the best North American made module manufacturer. The vertical-integrated structure and 30-year global experience in solar systems assures suppliers and retailers that the trustworthy, bankable company is using only the best materials and methods to produce modules.

“Companies continue to select Silfab because of our North American location – which means quicker delivery, best-in-class warranties and high-touch customer service,” said Geoffrey Atkins, Silfab’s head of development. “Silfab is excited to partner with another customer-focused, high-quality solar provider such as Auric.”

Keeping with Utah Business, they’ve announced the time and location for their annual Green Business Awards, highlighting “the best green practices and efforts in Utah.” The event will take place October 20 between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Grand American Hotel Grand Salon, 555 Main Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84101. More information, including ticket information, is available here.

Finally, down in Wyoming, the state has announced plans for its recent $158,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Expansion Program. According to the Wyoming Business Report, this year’s grant marks the state’s fifth year of involvement in the program—and the largest award the Cowboy State has received to date:

The program will begin with webinars on topics about navigating customs and tariff codes, pricing for foreign markets, meeting regulatory requirements and identifying the best foreign market potential.

“Companies new to exports need training in foreign currency risk, strategies for cutting through red tape and ways to find new buyers,” said Ben Avery, business initiatives director for the Business Council.

The goal is to reach 25 to 35 businesses interested in exporting as a new market.

Companies dedicated to taking the next step will receive additional coaching and individualized assistance in creating export plans during a three-month education session.

The STEP grant will also allow the Business Council to send companies to targeted international trade shows. Those expo events cover the mining, outdoor and firearms industries.

“We will host companies at foreign trade shows in 2017 like the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada mining expo and the International Weapons Exhibition in Germany,” Avery said.

The Business Council hopes to double export sales for companies participating in these shows.

Another opportunity available under the STEP grant will be the International Trade Show Incentive Grant program.

Participating companies will be eligible for up to $3,500 in reimbursements to travel to international expos.

These shows are designed to increase exposure and sales in the international marketplace for Wyoming businesses.

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