Glenwood Chamber expects big weekend |

Glenwood Chamber expects big weekend

John GardnerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Kate Collins expects Glenwood Springs to be bustling this Memorial Day weekend. The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association Vice President of Tourism Marketing says this Memorial Day should be as good as it’s ever been, despite record high fuel prices.”We’re optimistic that we are going to hold steady,” Collins said. “There is a sentiment that vacations are no longer a luxury, but more of a necessity and people are still going to take them.”

Gas prices hit another record-high average in Glenwood Springs on Wednesday, reaching $3.98 per gallon of regular unleaded. The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded in Colorado is up 44 cents compared to last year. The average cost of filling a 15-gallon tank with regular unleaded in Colorado is $55.50 compared to $48.90 last year according to AAA.But despite record gas prices last year, 2007 was a record year for travel and tourism across the nation, Collins said, with Glenwood Springs benefiting greatly. In the past two years, Glenwood has seen a 41 percent increase in revenue generated through the 2.5 percent accommodation tax. 2006 saw an increase of 19 percent, while last year improved to a 22 percent increase in accommodations revenue, said Collins.”We’ve had incredible gains over the years,” Collins said. “I don’t know that we can continue to grow at that rate, but we did see growth in three out of the four months so far this year.”So far for 2008, January, February and March all showed decreases in occupancy rates for Glenwood hotels and motels. April was the only month so far with a higher occupancy rate from the previous year, according to data from the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report.However, with the increase in occupancy, room rates have also shown an increase over last year. But it’s not enough to keep visitors away in Collins’ opinion.

“Costs are going up across the state,” Collins said. “Our rates are increasing at a rate equivalent to other destinations, but across the state we are still one of the more affordable places.”A report from AAA estimates that 9.15 million people in the western United States, including Colorado, will travel 50 or more miles away from home for Memorial Day weekend. The estimation is a slight decrease of 0.01 percent compared to last year.AAA also lists Denver, Colorado Springs, Durango, Grand Junction and Boulder as the top five in-state destinations.One of the reasons Collins expects continued success for Glenwood’s tourism industry is that the town is perfectly placed to attract travelers from the Front Range and Western Slope cities like Grand Junction.”We are a regional destination,” Collins said. “Our main segment is the Denver and Front Range person.”

And with fuel prices at record highs, Collins expects, people to be looking at places like Glenwood Springs for a nearby vacation spot.”We haven’t seen anything that would indicate high gas prices affecting our market,” Collins said. “People still need vacations and we are still close enough to make for an easy, affordable getaway.”And the local economy may get another boost from residents sticking around for the holiday as well. Collins said she expects a lot of day visitors, coming for Glenwood’s amenities and returning home for an inexpensive holiday getaway.Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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