John Carson with Bent’s Old Fort Honored for Tourism Service


Colorado Tourism Office Honors John Carson with Bent’s Old Fort
in Celebrating National Travel & Tourism Week

Denver, CO (May 9, 2019) ─ In marking the 36th annual National Travel and Tourism Week, the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) honored John Carson, with Bent’s Old Fort National Historic site in La Junta, as one of eight Top Frontline Tourism Workers statewide. Each was selected from dozens of nominees statewide for being an outstanding ambassador for “Colorado Hospitality” in their region of the state.

Carson, a park ranger and interpreter at Bent’s Old Fort, representing the Canyons & Plains Region will be honored with the award May 10 at 2 p.m. at Bent’s Old Fort – 35110 State Highway 194, La Junta. Local tourism industry partners and the public are encouraged to attend.

Since 2007 John Carson, Kit Carson’s great-grandson, has been a park ranger and interpreter at Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site. John is both engaging and personable providing an accurate, historical interpretation of life at the fort. Local schoolchildren and travelers alike repeatedly comment on the welcoming, knowledgeable interpretative staff as being a highlight of Bent’s Old Fort.

“It is so inspiring to hear about the ways people like John are creating extraordinary experiences for those who visit our state,” said CTO Director Cathy Ritter. “Each of these honorees in their everyday work is creating the kinds of memories that vacationers savor and re-tell long after their trip is done. I thank each and every one of our honorees — and so many others we didn’t hear about this year — for all they do to make our state an unforgettable destination.”

As one of Colorado’s most important industries, tourism is the second-largest and fastest-growing source of jobs. In 2017, the industry directly supported 171,000 jobs and earnings of more than $6.3 billion—a 3.4% increase over 2016. (Jobs figures for 2018 will be available in June.)

The honoring of Top Frontline Tourism Workers is just one of the ways that the CTO is lifting up the extraordinary assets of each of the state’s eight new travel regions, created last year to raise consumer awareness and provide a focus for promotion and development of unique travel experiences in every part of the state.

To raise awareness of the new regions, the CTO has released a collection of eight new online itineraries on its Colorado Field Guide microsite, outlining great things to do and places to stay and eat throughout each travel region. From May 4 to 11, the CTO will be telling the story of a different region each day on its Visit Colorado social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and sharing regional hashtags so travelers can seek out images and for reach region.

Bent’s Old Fort is part of the Canyons & Plains region, found in Southeast Colorado, a rural destination filled with traditional character, agricultural abundance, and shaped by its rich heritage of American, Hispanic and Native American history and culture.

“John is truly an outstanding ambassador for Bent’s Fort, La Junta, the Canyons & Plains region and Colorado,” said Pamela Denahy, Director of Tourism for Visit La Junta. “.

National Travel and Tourism Week — America’s annual salute to travel and tourism — was established by a congressional resolution in 1983. The weeklong observation champions the power of the tourism industry to generate economic benefits, including jobs and tax generation, across the United States. For more information, please visit


MEDIA CONTACT:    Pamela Denahy, Director of Tourism, City of La Junta,, (719) 468-1439

About Visit La Junta: La Junta is Colorado Unexpected. Located in the beautiful Arkansas River Valley, it is one of the best kept secrets in Colorado, on US Highway 50 and Amtrak’s Southwest Chief Route.  Experience Colorado Unexpected at

About the Colorado Tourism Office: The Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) is a division of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The CTO’s mission is to generate traveler spending by promotion of Colorado as a four-season, four-corner, world-class travel destination and development of compelling, sustainable travel experiences. In 2017, Colorado travelers spent $20.9 billion, generating $1.28 billion in local and state revenues, reducing the tax burden for every Coloradan by $228. Tourism is the state’s second largest employer, directly supporting 171,000 jobs. For more information, please visit


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