Visit Carson Valley Community Engagement Project

Summary Report / June 2021

Visit Carson Valley worked with MMGY NextFactor (an international tourism consulting firm) during the first half of 2021 to develop and facilitate a comprehensive community engagement project.

The overall objectives of the project:

  • Identify the range of community sentiment related to the local visitor economy.
  • Understand the perspectives and priorities of local elected officials and a wide breadth of industry stakeholders.
  • Identify opportunities for Carson Valley to leverage the visitor economy more strategically for the broadest spectrum of area residents and businesses.

Resident Survey Overview

Visit Carson Valley fielded a resident survey in Q2 2021 to guage public sentiment about the local visitor economy, and its impact on the community.
910 residents participated in the survey.

Overview of 1-on-1 Interviews and Focus Groups

MMGY NextFactor conducted 20+ interviews with elected County and Town officials, public sector employees, industry stakeholders, small business owners, and local organizations. The purpose was to identify opportunities and challenges regarding the visitor economy, and provide constructive suggestions to Visit Carson Valley.

There was a broad consensus among all of the interviewees that the charm of Carson Valley should be a high priority to maintain why people want to live and visit here. There was also general agreement that many local small businesses benefit from visitor spending.

MMGY NextFactor also facilitated two focus groups to identify opportunities and challenges in two key segments that benefit both local residents and visitors: Outdoor Recreation and Arts, Culture & Heritage.

Clearly, Carson Valley offers incredible outdoor recreation opportunities, but more can be done to maintain and develop trails, and provide added services, to attract higher spending outdoor enthusiasts. Regarding arts, culture and recreation, there are many opportunities to enhance the local creative economy year-round, but there is still work to be done on overall direction.

Key Themes from Interviews and Focus Groups

  1. The #1 priority in all interviews was to protect the local character that makes Carson Valley special.
  2. We have world-class trails system. Our trails connect the entire destination. We need to attract more high-value visitors (Higher spending, more time in-destination, aligned with local community values, etc.).
  3. Golf, gliders, ATV, equestrian, fishing, watersports, and camping are all areas for local business development.
  4. There are many opportunities for connecting arts/culture with culinary and outdoor recreation sectors to build more interesting itineraries and engage younger audiences.
  5. Visit Carson Valley can be an advocate for developing more arts and cultural experiences, and aligning the creative industry to accelerate community and economic development.
  6. We need to connect local residents and our local creative community. We also need to educate the broader community about how the Valley is cool to visit and address the myths and misperceptions around tourists.
  7. Support Main Street development to create and connect vibrant community anchors.
  8. Enhance destination content for visitors and locals.


In 2021, MMGY NextFactor and Visit Carson Valley identified a series of priorities for the organization, based on all of the survey data, survey comments, and community engagement interviews and focus groups. The following recommendations have been a foundation for developing new initiatives, and enhancing existing strategies, to provide high-value experiences for both visitors and local residents.

  1. Identify where public and private sector priorities are aligned to develop a shared, long-term vision and strategic framework for the local community and visitor economy.
  2. Increase community education and collaboration on destination and product development. That is critical to help optimize the visitor economy’s impacts for the majority of residents.
  3. Tourism and product development offerings should prioritize public and private investments in outdoor recreation, culinary and culture to leverage key existing strengths in Carson Valley.

Together, we’re stronger. It takes a valley.