Colorado Tourism Set Record in ‘06
Colorado enjoyed its best year ever for tourism in 2006 with a record 26.9 million overnight visitors – the state’s third consecutive year of growth, according to the Longwoods International Colorado Travel 2006 report released by the Colorado Tourism Office.
Increases in the number of visitors resulted in a significant rise in travel spending in Colorado. Overall, overnight visitors to Colorado in 2006 increased 4%. When the number is adjusted for inflation, the state exceeded its previous high in 1992. Overall visitor spending led to double-digit increases in restaurant, attractions and recreation expenditures. The accommodations, local transportation and retail sectors also saw increases of 4% to 5% in visitor spending.
Colorado’s national share of marketable travel rose 2.35%, reaching a record $8.9 billion, up 8% over the $8.2 billion spent in 2005 – the highest since 1999. Aside from Colorado itself, the top state markets for Colorado vacations are Texas, California, Arizona, Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico.
Colorado posted growth in each of its three main travel segments, led by “marketable leisure trips,” which showed a 7% increase. Marketable leisure trips are defined as that travel that is influenced by marketing efforts. Marketable trips are comprised of visitors who are not visiting friends or relatives, and stay in overnight accommodations. The other segments contributing to the state’s tourism growth in 2006 were business travel, which increased 4%, and visiting friends and relatives traffic, which was up 2%.
The increase in marketable trips was significant, the report stated, as Colorado enjoyed its highest number of marketable trips since its peak in 1992 and this reflects the Colorado Tourism Office’s ongoing marketing efforts targeting leisure travel. The national trend for this segment showed zero growth in 2006.
The increase in marketable trips also reflected strong gains in outdoor trips, which now comprise the largest segment among those visiting Colorado on marketable leisure trips. The state now ranks ninth in the U.S. for outdoor trips, with a 3.8% market share in 2006.