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Publish Date: 8/19/2005

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Sandy Mullins, with the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, left, and Sandstone Ranch volunteer coordinator Deborah Price talk during the Longmont Area Visitors Association membership rally at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center, 1900 Ken Pratt Blvd., on Thursday. Times-Call/Lewis Geyer

New tourism group starts by promoting itself
LAVA’s next step: Promoting Longmont


LONGMONT — A lone hula dancer swayed to music Thursday during a themed event designed to get local businesses and organizations to sign up for LAVA.

The Longmont Area Visitors Association, a joint venture between the city of Longmont and the Longmont Area Economic Council, is the only organization in the city that has a mission to promote local tourism.

“I think we’re going to go places,” said Mayor Pro Tem Tom McCoy, who also serves on the LAVA board. “We’ve got a lot of things that we are trying to sell, encouraging people to come see what we have to offer.”

Executive director Beth Witzak said she was pleased with the turnout. The budding organization sent out 200 invitations to the membership rally and received 63 RSVPs.

Because Longmont does not have a lodging tax, membership dues will serve as the budget base.

“This is our kickoff. Basically, we’re a new organization that is going to be based on membership,” Witzak said.

LAVA has a service area including a 30-mile radius around the city. Witzak said she has had some interest from non-Longmont groups.

She said LAVA will employ direct marketing of the area, will heavily use its Web site at www.visitlongmont.org, and is developing a visitor pamphlet that will be distributed to 13 statewide visitor centers and within the city.

The group points to tourism studies that indicate that money spent on promotion is well spent.

The membership rally was held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Longmont’s Radisson Hotel and Conference Center.

Pierrette J. Shields can be reached at 303-684-5273, or by e-mail at pshields@times-call.com.

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