State officials stayed local when picking the new head of the Colorado Tourism Office.
Timothy Wolfe has led some of the biggest names in Colorado hospitality properties, including Denver’s storied Brown Palace and The Antlers in Colorado Springs.
Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade announced Wolfe’s appointment Tuesday after a three-month search for a replacement after former longtime director Cathy Ritter left the position abruptly in April. Deputy Director Jill Corbin served as the interim director.
Wolfe starts Aug. 23.
“Tim is a proven leader with exceptional industry experience, market knowledge and an outstanding record of management success,” said the economic development office’s Executive Director Pat Meyers in a statement.
“As Colorado’s tourism industry continues its economic recovery, Tim’s hospitality and event experience will be invaluable in delivering a strong recovery for our urban centers and his understanding of Colorado’s local values is critical to effectively serving the diverse needs of our rural destinations across the state. His experience is tailored for this moment.”
Wolfe has worked as a self-employed consultant since January. Before that, he was the general manager for the historic, 241-room Brown Palace in downtown Denver and its sister property Holiday Inn Express Denver Downtown with 231 rooms.
He served as the general manager for The Antlers, now a Wyndham Hotel, from 2011 to 2014 when it was part of the Pyramid Hotel Group.
He’s also been the chairman of the Colorado Hotel Lodging Association and has served on the Colorado Tourism Office board as well as its chairman. In 2015, he was voted to the association’s Hall of Fame.
“I am honored to lead Colorado’s tourism office at such a critical time for our industry,” Wolfe said in a statement. “The CTO team and our industry partners face the challenge of responsibly evolving to meet the tourism industry’s changing needs while protecting what makes Colorado so special. Together, we can meet that challenge while delivering an economic recovery for a reimagined tourism industry.”
Before the pandemic shut down all travel and devastated the tourism industry in 2020, Colorado had posted a record 86.9 million visitors, up 2% from the previous year.
Those visitors spent $2.4 billion that year, up 7.3% year-over-year. That was well above the national average increase of 4.3%, according to the tourism office.
Asked what experience he brought besides hospitality, Wolfe responded via email: "I’ve been in the people business for 25 years and delivering positive experiences for people is at the heart of what we do. As chair of the CTO board for two years and a board member for six years, my experience has touched on many aspects of Colorado tourism. The CTO team has great depth across the tourism spectrum and my experience in hotels, hospitality and events and past CTO board experience complements the existing team by adding critical insights into sectors that were disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and are vital to a complete recovery."
Though he doesn't start until August, the Denver Gazette asked Wolfe what specific ideas he would work to implement.
"Destination Marketing Organizations nationally/globally are actively identifying how they can lead and assist with Destination Management – balancing the benefits of tourism and mitigating the impact of over-tourism to deliver a positive experience for guests and residents," Wolfe said via email. "This was a priority before COVID and the post-COVID migration to outdoor destinations has accelerated these efforts.
"The CTO and our colleagues at OEDIT are focused on statewide economic momentum and real solutions for the core issues that make that possible with a close eye on areas that are disproportionately affected. For example, OEDIT recently brought together multiple public/private entities to fund a $16.8 million affordable housing project in Buena Vista."