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Inbound travel to Colorado

From left, a Japanese tour operator; Jane Buck with Visit Denver; Lisa Langer with the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association; Takako Nambu with CTO Japan; and Mar Naibi with Visit Snowmass.

“Why, then, the world’s mine oyster, which I, with sword will open.” This phrase first appeared in William Shakespeare’s play “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” published in 1602. In this comedy, the character Pistol uses the expression as a metaphor to infer that the world is laid out before you like a plate of oysters needing only to be pried open to be enjoyed, perhaps with a pearl as a prize. This may be the very reason people from all over the world seek the adventures and beauty laid out before them in Colorado. To experience is to live.

Last month I attended the U.S. Travel Association’s IPW, the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the United States. This year’s IPW, held in New Orleans, was attended by more than 6,000 delegates (suppliers and buyers). The Colorado Tourism Office booth welcomed nearly 400 appointments from travel buyers and media representing 48 countries. A common theme heard from these international tourism representatives is that Colorado is thought of as a safe destination and is most appealing in light of recent threats abroad.

The U. S. Travel Association International Inbound Travel fact sheet of April 2016 reports that with 75 million international visitations, the U.S. is — by far — the single largest destination for global long-haul travel and the second-largest destination for overall global travel. Long-haul travel is considered 6-12 hours in flight.



Denver International Airport (DIA) has been steadily growing in international travel. British Airways, American, Finnair and Iberia offer non-stop flights from London to DIA. Icelandair has a direct flight to Denver from Reykjavik. United Airlines has added direct flights from Tokyo, Panama City and Munich. Lufthansa has just reinstated a nonstop flight from Munich. With increasing access from international destinations to Colorado, the opportunity to entice travelers to visit Glenwood Springs is steadily improving.

Why is the international market important to Glenwood Springs? It is a matter of economics. International guests stay for longer holidays and spend much more than domestic visitors. The U.S. Travel Association’s July 2016 Travel and Tourism Overview reported that in 2015, international inbound travelers, including visitors from overseas, Canada and Mexico, made 77.5 million visits to the United States, and international travel spending continued to show a nearly $23 billion surplus.

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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.



Last year, domestic and international travelers spent $947 billion in the United States and directly supported more than 8.1 million U.S. jobs. On average, every $1 million in sales of travel goods and services directly generates nine jobs for the industry. In contrast, every $1 million in sales in total non-farm industry as a whole creates six jobs on average.

The travel industry has created jobs at a faster rate (12.8 percent) than the rest of the economy (10.1 percent) from the beginning of the overall employment recovery in early 2010 to the end of 2015. Increasing travel to and within Colorado will continue to produce more revenue for the city of Glenwood Springs and its businesses, as well as to create job opportunities for citizens of the area.

Here’s to continued tourism success for Glenwood Springs and the state of Colorado as we reach outside our boundaries. As Lao Tzu, founder of philosophical Taoism said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

For more information about tourism promotion of Glenwood Springs, contact me at lisa@glenwoodchamber.com or 970-230-9035.

Lisa Langer, IOM, is vice president of tourism marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.


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