Tourism numbers up in Grand Junction, Colorado

Caitlin Row
The Grand Junction Off-Road mountain-bike races attracted thousands of people downtown and to the Lunch Loops area at the end of May.
Devon Balet |

With tourism to Colorado’s Grand Valley trending up, area hotels are increasingly full.

According to Mistalynn Meyeraan of Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau, June’s lodging tax collection is the best on record to date. That reflects heads and beds filled in Grand Junction over the month of May. It was up 6.4 percent from the previous year ($159,366 vs. $149,765). Lodging tax collection in March was also up eight percent over 2014 ($67,390 vs. $62,400). Year-to-date, lodging tax collection is up 4.6 percent at $540,578.

“It is the combination of promotions, marketing, events, weather —which ties to outdoor recreation, consumer confidence, better awareness of the area, overall attractions and amenities, plus more that is driving the tourism increases this summer,” Meyeraan said.

Rainy weather around Colorado helped attract visitors to Mesa County in May. Snow was also still falling periodically in the High Country.

Jim Pringle, a warning coordination meteorologist for Grand Junction’s National Weather Service office, confirmed precipitation records across the state in May spanning areas of Routt County, La Plata County, and Gunnison County.

“We always do well as a community when the mountains and Denver are getting snow,” Meyeraan explained. “We did a campaign in the mountain region for mountain biking. … We do attribute outdoor recreation to tourism.”

Other events happening in May included Grand Junction’s annual Junior College World Series, the Grand Junction Off Road mountain-bike races, and Colorado Mesa University’s graduation.

“People are traveling more in general right now,” Meyeraan added. “All that has come together to create a really good June collections for us.”

Warm weather, with regular rain, is still common for the Grand Junction now; and its rafting season is in full swing.

“River rescues are trending up because people are still not wearing their life jackets,” said Shawn Montgomery of Grand Junction Fire Department. “Over the July 4 weekend, we received two calls for possible river rescues and one actual rescue. The area around the 29 Road bridge and the Fifth Street bridge are the hazardous area that are causing the most problems.”

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