Hundreds Came to Strengthen Tourism in Canon City

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CANON CITY, Colo. Rebuilding a community after a wildfire is a long process. That's exactly what the folks in Canon City have been doing this past year.

On Saturday, the Canon City Chamber of Commerce hosted it's third Annual Royal Gorge Region Tourism Expo.

Sixty-five vendors showed up at the Abbey Field House from 11:00a.m.-5:00p.m. More than 500 people showed up. That's 300 more than last year.

The companies ranged from restaurants, tourism companies and clothing stores.

Cassandra Passero, an intern with the Canon City Chamber of Commerce, put the event together. "Last year, we suffered a devastating fire in our area and it really killed a huge part of our tourism so we need to work as a community to rebuild that," said Passero.

Last year, the Royal Gorge Fire destroyed 48 out of 53 buildings in Canon City. At that time, business owners say it was a struggle. 11 News spoke to one rafting and zip line company that shut down a few days during the fire. They say Saturday's Expo was a great way for them to show off their product and educate residents in Fremont County all about tourism opportunities here.

An employee with that company, Jax Gibson, said, "This year, we're back in full force. Rafting is going to be amazing, we've got amazing snow pacts, which leads to great water levels for rafting. We're here to promote that and show people that we're still standing and good to go on business."

Ground breaking to start rebuilding the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park was in February. Final project that include a brand new visitor center are planned to be done by August.