GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Tourism continues to be a major driver of the area’s economy, accounting for more than $95 million in direct destination spending last year in Glenwood Springs alone, according to a recent report published by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.
Garfield County as a whole brought in $132 million in spending by visitors who chose the area as their vacation destination, and Glenwood Springs-based lodges generate about $29 million per year, according to the September 2013 Trends Report put out by the chamber.
“Tourism provides amenities, jobs, infrastructure and a great lifestyle,” Marianne Virgili, longtime director of the GSCRA, said of the findings in the annual report. “Plus, the tourism dollar trickles down and multiplies to help build a strong local economy.”
Applying a multiplier commonly used by the Colorado Tourism Board and tourist industry associations, that adds up to a $243 million industry for Glenwood Springs, as each dollar brought into the area by visitors passes through the local economy several times before being spent outside the area, according to the report.
Of the $95 million in tourist spending in the city in 2012, lodging accounted for 30 percent, 26 percent was spent with restaurants, 16 percent was spent for entertainment, recreation and arts, 10 percent went to various retail sales, 7 percent was in food stores and 6 percent was for gas and other local transportation.
Also cited in the chamber’s report is “The Economic Impact of Travel on Colorado” study published by Dean Runyan Associates in November 2012. It found that $132 million was spent by visitors to greater Garfield County in 2011.
“This spending translated into $36.7 million in industry earnings and 1,440 jobs,” according to that report.
Throughout northwest Colorado, including Garfield, Eagle, Grand, Jackson, Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, tourists spent approximately $1.5 billion that same year, the study found. That, in turn, translated to 14,900 tourism-related jobs in 2011.
Locally, 14 percent of all jobs held by Glenwood Springs residents are in the accommodations and food service category, according to the chamber report.
That’s higher than Garfield County as a whole, at 9.2 percent, and the state of Colorado, at 7.8 percent.
“While business from visitors to the area form the bulk of the accommodations subcategory, the food service part derives business from a combination of visitors and local residents,” the report notes.
“The total number of the accommodations/food service jobs attributed to travel spending in Garfield County is estimated to be 947, based on the Runyan percentages for the northwest district,” the report says.
Other notable statistics contained in the chamber report:
• In 2012, more than 64,000 people took a commercial raft trip on the Glenwood section of the Colorado River.
• Current employment stats show the Glenwood Hot Springs is responsible for 289 jobs.
• 165,000 people visited Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in 2012.
• Sunlight Mountain Resort had 67,752 skier visits for the 2012-13 season.
To see the Tourism 2013 Glenwood Springs Economic Driver Report and the accompanying 2013 Trends Online Report, which contains a variety of other economic data for Glenwood Springs and Garfield County, visit www.glenwoodchamber.com/trends, password: tourism.