Worries of Glenwood Springs locals don’t concern tourists | PostIndependent.com

Worries of Glenwood Springs locals don’t concern tourists

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado While locals fret over things like traffic and the vitality of downtown hurting tourism, tourists are mostly having a great time and enjoying the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool, according to a tourism study.The study was prepared for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association by the Department of Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at Colorado State University. A graduate of the department collected the data and conducted interviews from Jan. 12 to March 16, working with a professor and others. The study includes data from 26 local business owners or government officials, 338 tourists in Glenwood Springs and 77 online surveys.

According to the results, most tourists didn’t seem to be concerned with the things locals feared. Locals said their top worries were a lack of affordable housing, a shortage of employees, diminishing customer service and the vitality of downtown. They also expressed fears about the quality of buildings and early closing hours of downtown shops.”Increasing traffic congestion along the main downtown street has created an inhospitable core area which has led to a decrease of shops and vibrancy downtown,” the study says of the locals’ views. “The town’s identity and small town culture are in increasing danger of destruction due to the unfamiliar chaos that these growth side-effects are producing among locals.”But the report from tourist surveys concludes that winter visitors are “highly satisfied” with the affordability and value of trips to Glenwood, and the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool continues to be the city’s main draw. The report found 97 percent of those surveyed intend to return, and only 1 percent said they would not return to Glenwood.The chamber’s vice president of tourism and marketing, Kate Collins, found it interesting the tourists surveyed were mostly liking Glenwood despite some local negativity.”I’m always surprised that the things that we perseverate on here – the visitor doesn’t find that these things diminish their experience at all,” she said. “I guess we can all be a little bit surprised or reassured by that.”But on the other hand, she said, imagine the possibilities if the city could improve the areas of concern.

The pool, friendly people, sightseeing and skiing received the highest marks from tourists. Shopping, nightlife and transportation appeared to be problem areas that needed development. The report based on tourist surveys also found there is “likely a marketing gap” for things like the Glenwood Caverns, the Vapor Caves and shopping.The report recommends cleanup and possibly restructuring historic downtown. It suggests developing more package deals for tourists and creating more things to do at night. It also suggests a focus on aesthetics in response to tourists’ enjoying Glenwood as a “quaint little town” in a beautiful valley.”The exit coming off Interstate 70 on the north side of the river immediately leads through a zone with gas stations, too many signs and some unattractive small business buildings,” the report states. “This area should be a focal point with green space, attractive walkways and less service oriented businesses such as the car lots, KFC restaurant and the abandoned store adjacent to the Hotel Colorado that could be torn down.”Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

Tourist behavior• Winter visitors are well-educated, affluent and family-oriented. They’re looking for “quality, quaint experiences.”• About 74 percent come from Colorado, with 67 percent traveling from the Denver area. About 57 percent traveled by car while 16 percent took a train and 15 percent flew.• Most visitors stay two to three nights per visit and have been to Glenwood before.• The Hot Springs Lodge and Pool, dining, sightseeing and relaxation are the most popular activities for winter visitors.Source: Glenwood Springs Visitor Survey Report

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