Inside the Chamber column: You’re invited to the Colorado Tourism Roadshow
According to the Colorado Tourism Office’s 2015 Dean Runyan Associates study, 77.7 million Colorado visitors spent a total of $19.1 billion, generating $1.13 billion in state and local taxes. A recent Glenwood Springs Visitor Analysis estimates that approximately 1.3 million out-of-towners spent at least an hour in Glenwood Springs in a 12-month period. Direct travel spending of the 77.7 million statewide visitors generated over 160,000 jobs with earnings of $5.5 billion. That’s one in 10 jobs in Colorado. The same 2015 study estimates that tourism created more than 1,700 jobs in Garfield County and brought in $7.3 million in taxes.
These statistics are important to the community because they indicate that visitors contribute heavily to Glenwood Springs’ economy, which translates to better amenities for its citizens. In fact, out-of-town guests contribute approximately 70 percent of Glenwood Springs’ local tax receipts. In 2016, the Glenwood Springs lodging tax (2.5 percent on rooms rented within the city limits) showed a 6.88 percent cumulative increase over 2015. This is a 24 percent increase over the 2008 benchmark year. That’s a lot of local infrastructure carried on the shoulders of visitors rather than community members.
To celebrate the great work of tourism in this state and in conjunction with National Travel and Tourism Week, the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) team will embark on a 1,000-mile, five-day trip across the state. They will honor outstanding front-line tourism workers and share insights into a new statewide strategic plan in eight destinations along the way. The final stop of this Colorado Roadshow will be right here in Glenwood Springs.
The roadshow kicks off May 8 in Golden and then follows a loop through northern Colorado with stops in Aurora, Burlington, Wiggins, Fort Collins, Steamboat Springs, Meeker and Glenwood Springs. The CTO team and other industry partners will travel the route in a motor coach wrapped in the state’s award-winning “Come to Life” message, which will continue to serve as a rolling billboard through the summer.
The year’s roadshow will educate the tourism industry about new initiatives including the new Colorado Tourism Roadmap strategic plan, adopted in March 2017. The roadmap outlines strategies to maximize the benefit of tourism by driving increased traveler spending, while embracing new strategies to disperse visitors to less-traveled destinations. Ten months in the making, the 24-page roadmap incorporates the input of more than 1,000 tourism industry professionals, elected leaders and Coloradans who took part last year in 20-plus listening sessions throughout the state. Each member of the CTO team will share examples of how roadmap initiatives can benefit tourism partners.
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park will host the Glenwood Springs session from 9-10 a.m. Friday, May 12. If you wish to attend the CTO Roadshow presentation, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisa Langer IOM is vice president of tourism marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.