Colorado's record tourism growth hits new milestone: 86 million visitors, $1.28 billion in tax revenue – The Denver Post
Colorado hosted a record 86 million visitors in 2017 who spent nearly $21 billion during their in-state travels, according to new report compiled by the state’s tourism office.
The 84.7 million U.S.-based travelers and nearly 1 million international visitors also generated a total of $1.28 billion in state and local tax revenues, studies found, marking the eighth consecutive year of record-setting growth.
“Colorado has been emerging as a national destination over the past five or six years, and we’re continuing to carve out our share of the marketable leisure travelers in the U.S.,” said Cathy Ritter, director of the Colorado Tourism Office. “That holds great promise, especially with additional investment into the tourism sector in the future.”
Colorado tourism has enjoyed consistent growth since the recession in 2009, with domestic visitors increasing by 41 percent, or more than double the national growth rate of 20 percent.
The state numbers parallel rosy reports touted by Denver officials last week, which found a record 31.7 million visitors to the Mile High City in 2017, marking the 12th consecutive year of growth. Denver gets about 20 percent of the visitors in the state but accounts for half of all in-state tourism spending.
However, Colorado’s gains come at the expense of some of the country’s top-tier and longtime tourism hotspots, such as New York City and Las Vegas, according to research, as travelers increasingly turn toward the Rocky Mountain West and Colorado in particular.
“We’re getting a significant number of travelers from New York, Miami, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., in addition to the traditional markets that we’ve traded in, like the Midwest, California and Texas,” Ritter said.
In 2017, the Colorado travel industry directly supported 171,000 jobs and earnings of more than $6.3 billion, a 3.4 percent increase over 2016. Colorado last year attracted 37.9