GJ lodging down for first time since ’04

Monthly lodging tax collections are down in Grand Junction for the first time since 2004.

November figures released Wednesday weighed in at $116,354, down from a year ago, when tax totals were at $119,415, a decrease of 2.6 percent. However, Grand Junction is still up year-to-date, with an increase of 14.2 percent from this time last year.

“We have to face it, the last time we were down in a month was August 2004,” said Barbara Bowman, division manager for the Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Bureau. “With what’s happening out there in the national economy, we’re not surprised. Compared to our regional and national peers, to be up 14.2 percent, we are so grateful and so lucky. We’re still in good shape.”

Bowman said conversations with travel bureaus in the East and in California revealed that positive trends have become scarce in travel nationwide. 

“What you’re looking at is, we’ve topped out with regard to growth,” Bowman said. “It reflects that the growth level has stabilized.”

That stabilization has come from rooms added to the market inventory and consistent room rates throughout the year, she said.

Additional figures for November, which were released Tuesday at a meeting of the Visitor and Convention Bureau board of directors,  showed visitor center visits down 23.7 percent, in-state visitors up 8.2 percent, out-of-state visitors down 47.2 percent and international visitors down 27.8 percent.

Year-to-date figures showed visitor center visits down 3.5 percent, in-state visitors down 2.1 percent, out-of-state visitors down 7.8 percent and international visitors up 18.9 percent.

Gaylene Ore, who handles state and national public relations for the bureau and also works with other cities throughout the state, said Wednesday that Grand Junction is among the leaders in the state for visits.

“By far, in lodging, you are doing the best in the state,” Ore told the board. “You’re one of the top five attractions and six months ago started becoming (officially) referred to as Colorado’s Wine Country.”

Bowman said the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report recently showed Grand Junction as having the highest occupancy in the state.


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