Colorado Tourism Sets Record Numbers (From Legal Weed?)

Denver SkylineAccording to a recent study released by the Denver Post, tourism in Colorado is on the rise an a huge way. Statistically, 15.4 million overnight vacationers and business travelers visited Denver in 2014, spending a record $4.6 billion which is as much as double to triple the national average in some places. Given, this dates back to 2005 when Colorado voted to increase tourism marketing annually and has continued to see a 60% rise in vacationers.

However, in 2014 after legalized weed, this numbers skyrocketed. Some interested statistics collected by the Denver Post:

  • Travelers visiting friends and family increased 13 percent in 2014, compared with 2 percent nationally.
  • Denver ranks as the 15th top U.S. city destination, drawing a 1.1 percent share of the country’s overnight travel market, up from 0.8 percent in 2012 and 2013. Among the top destinations for ski trips, Denver ranks third behind Vail and Breckenridge but ahead of Steamboat Springs and Park City, Utah, with a 4.5 percent share of the traveling ski market.
  • The number of business travelers, who spend $138 a day, coming to Denver reached 2.4 million in 2014, up 5 percent. Nationally, business travel was up 2 percent.
  • Denver hosted a record 6 million “marketable” travelers — vacationers who could go anywhere but chose Denver — marking a 9 percent increase over 2013, compared with a 5 percent increase nationally.
  • Those overnight visitors spent $6.4 billion in 2014, up 15 percent, with $3.6 billion spent by leisure travelers, a 12 percent annual increase. Business travelers spent $1 billion, a whopping 20 percent increase.
  • The city’s lodging industry harvested $1.3 billion from overnight visitors in 2014; restaurants and bars saw $913 million in spending and retail shops saw $579 million.

One of the most interesting statistics: 80% of travelers polled for this study said they would certainly come back to Colorado for another vacation. From a marketing standpoint, that’s huge!

This directly opposes initial views from the Visit Colorado tourism board, who in 2012, insisted that legal weed would damage the state’s reputation, reduce tourism and vastly reduce the amount of business events and conventions coming to Denver; in 2014, Denver set a “best ever” record, hosting  a whopping 450,000 conventioneers (Marijuana Investment Summit, anyone?)


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