Record number of visitors boosted tourism spending in state in 2010
Colorado’s tourist destinations set a few records in the number of visitors last year, according to an annual tourism report released Wednesday.
The report, commissioned by the Colorado Tourism Office, showed the state remained the nation’s top-ranked ski destination, had a record 55.1 million visits overall last year and cashed in on a 5 percent increase in the amount of spending from those visitors.
“We were very excited to see record numbers in terms of overall visitors, domestic overnight visits and, most importantly, visitor spending in Colorado,” said Al White, director of the office. “It also reinforces the fact that we must be aggressive with funding our marketing efforts at a time when other states like Washington and Texas have had significant cuts in their overall marketing spending.”
The report, put together by the New York City-based research firm Longwoods International, showed the top two urban areas from where the visitors originated were homegrown, from the Denver and Colorado Springs metropolitan areas.
They were followed by out-of-state visitors from Los Angeles, Albuquerque, N.M., Phoenix, New York City, Dallas and Chicago.
Residents of the Grand Junction-Montrose region came in ninth on that top-10 list. Salt Lake City visitors brought up the rear.
The report showed there were 28.9 million overnight trips to tourist destinations in the state last year, up nearly 5 percent from 2009. Together, those visitors spent about $8.8 billion on such things as hotels, meals, retail items and transportation. That’s an increase of about $200 million over 2009.
The report also showed marketable trips, defined as trips not related to visiting friends or relatives or business travelers, were up 4 percent. That set a record of 13.8 million visits.
The state’s business travel increased 3.5 percent, a reversal of 2009’s 13 percent drop.