Colorado is getting a Michelin Guide, the company announced this week in conjunction with the Colorado Tourism Office. Restaurants in Aspen, Snowmass Village, Boulder, Denver, Vail, and Beaver Creek Resort will be up for consideration for a selection that will be released later this year.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Michelin Guide to highlight the exceptional cuisine, sustainability efforts, and innovation of the culinary industry in Colorado,” Timothy Wolfe, director of the Colorado Tourism Office, said in a statement.
This move gives the Michelin Guide its sixth location in the United States. Last year, it began awarding stars in Florida.
The Denver Post reported that the Colorado Tourism Office will cover “some of the costs incurred to fund communication, digital, and marketing campaigns to promote the selections.” This involvement “does not have any influence on the inspectors’ judgments for the restaurants in the selection, or the award distinctions,” Gwendal Poullennec, the international director of the Michelin Guides, told the Post in a statement.
In both the US and globally, partnerships with tourism boards have helped Michelin decide where to expand its presence. While Michelin has denied pay-to-play accusations, Visit California paid Michelin $600,000 to bring the guide back to California, and the Miami Herald reported in 2021 that local tourism boards in Florida were to pay Michelin an estimated $1.5 million. Similarly, the Korean Tourism Organization paid Michelin about $1.8 million to bring the guide to Seoul.
Raising the profile of a city’s dining scene is good for tourism, and spending from local tourism boards extends beyond Michelin. Top Chef, for example, has also taken money in exchange for shooting in certain cities. Wolfe acknowledged the bigger goal of the tourism office’s investment: “The Michelin Guide will further elevate Colorado as a global dining destination, serving a variety of flavors with the authentically friendly attitude that can only be found in Colorado.”
In addition to bringing in tourism revenue, the Michelin Guide could boost the city’s culinary talent. As Poullennec told the Post, “the arrival of the Michelin Guide in a new destination always creates a positive dynamism in the area, so we’ll be very curious to observe the evolution of Colorado’s culinary offer in the future.”