Colorado’s tourism industry went from rock bottom to a Rocky Mountain high in 2010, setting multiple records for visitations and visitor spending.
According to media reports on the research firm Longwoods International’s study of the state’s tourism business, a whopping 55.1 million people visited Colorado last year, including 28.9 million overnight visitors who spent $8.8 billion – all record figures. Forty-two percent of last year’s overnight visitors live in Colorado.
Colorado tourists spent a total of $10.15 billion – a 4.6 percent increase from 2009. Of the 28.9 million overnight stays, 3.5 million were business related.
Visitors who stayed overnight averaged 4.8 nights in the state, with Denver comprising 12.7 million of the state’s overnight visits. The top destinations in Denver included the 16th Street Mall and shopping in Cherry Creek.
The study showed the state capital welcomed a record 12.7 million of the state’s visitors and garnered $3 billion of tourists’ spending, also a record.
Colorado’s ski resorts also shared in the economic boost, reporting more than 12 million skier visits during the 2010 ski season and helping the state remain the nation’s top skiing destination.
Yet tourists proved they come to Colorado for much more than just skiing: 30 percent of travelers in 2010 came to the state to visit historic sites, and 20 percent sought cultural experiences.
Most of the visitors to Colorado came from California and Texas, followed by Arizona, Illinois, New Mexico, Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and New York.