Along with other business and community leaders, Visit Durango helped spearhead Southwest Colorado Disaster Assistance during the 416 Fire.

This is a repository of information and also helps fundraise for the Community Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) to support our communities during times of crisis. The website launched in 2018 for Durango and La Plata County, and then last month relaunched to include all five counties in the region. This is a great model showcasing communities pulling together in times of crisis, since often communities are able to respond more quickly before state and federal aid can kick in.

One of the first initiatives of CERF funding in response to COVID is an innovative collaboration called “Save the Food, Serve the People,” working to resolve three problems at once. First, a statewide closure of restaurant dining rooms meant pounds of perishable food might go to waste. Second, those same closures meant dozens of restaurant workers had reduced income streams. Third, some of the area’s most vulnerable food insecure people were struggling to find meals. CERF funds were utilized to pay restaurant workers to turn big batches of perishables into soups and other dishes to feed local residents.

Since Durango’s economy relies heavily on tourism, COVID is hugely impact on the area’s industry. Until travel resumes, Visit Durango is working to keep people’s spirits up on social media with the #DurangoDreaming campaign. While not promoting travel and visitation to Durango, the campaigns serves to inspire people virtually with scenic photography, drone and video footage sans people … and response has been terrific.

Durango in snowfall during the day with the works Durango Dreaming

Durango also built a campaign #SaveTourism, which taps a national movement encouraging visitors to postpone, rather than cancel, travel plans. The campaign created social media content that is shared among tourism industry partners, with a goal of working together on recovery and thus be stronger to support visitors when they do return.

When the pandemic is over, tourism is one of the most effective ways to boost the economy. Plan your travel for later. Contact your hotelier, activity or @VisitDurango to postpone your trip and learn more about travel deals. #SaveTourism
Instagram post of a tourism exploring with the words Don’t Cancel. Pospone!

Visit Durango has also added pages to their website to assist visitors with planning or rescheduling their future travel plans, which includes virtual experiences: check them out here!

Helpful resources:

Donate to CERF



Send a check payable to the Community Foundation with CERF in the memo line to P.O. Box 1673, Durango, CO 81302


The mission of SWCODA is to share resources and raise awareness during times of crisis or emergency situations, and help residents and businesses based in Southwest Colorado. A major function of SWCODA is to raise awareness and assist with fundraising efforts, including the Community Emergency Relief Fund (CERF). Please visit to get involved and learn more.

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