Colorado is paying for journalist getaways to increase state tourism, raising ethics concerns

KUNC (Greeley): Three travel writers from Austin, Texas arrived in Colorado with their families in July with action-packed itineraries given to them by Colorado’s state government.

Pam LeBlanc, a freelance writer for some of Texas’ biggest newspapers and magazines, rafted the Arkansas River near Buena Vista and visited an orchard near Paonia. Austin American Statesman travel editor Kristin Finan soaked in the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool. And Statesman freelancer Mauri Elbel and her family ordered beef tartare, halibut and trout at a fine dining restaurant in Breckenridge following a summer dog sledding tour.

Records obtained through an open records request reveal Colorado taxpayers paid most of their travel expenses for their roughly weeklong trips, which occurred when mask mandates were in place after a July spike in coronavirus cases.

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