Colorado tourism up, despite drop in business travel

1:18 PM, Jun 8, 2010   |    comments
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"Pleasure visits, strangely were up, for both the state and for Denver," Michael Erdman of Longwoods International said Tuesday. "You [Colorado] fared really very well on your pleasure side."

There were 51.7 million trips made to Colorado in 2009, with overnight trips totaling about 46 percent. Of those overnight trips, 48 percent were considered "marketable pleasure trips," 39 percent were visits to relatives, and 13 percent of the trips were solely for business.

According to Longwoods International, 9.73 billion dollars were spent by travelers to Colorado in 2009, with accommodations and transportation as the biggest expenses.

"Last year was really dismal for travel," Erdman said of the national economy. "As you might have expected in a recession, expenditures were down."

The economic downturn was reflected in the 13 percent losses for business travel to the Centennial state, as companies look to consolidate and save on unnecessary expenses - including business trips.

Yet compared to national averages, Colorado's tourism market is doing well. Denver, the state's top travel destination, set a new high with visitor gains last year.

"[This is] really good news," Erdman said. "Ultimately you've achieved a new record in pleasure travel last year. You set a new record for marketable trips to Denver."

So what does the gain mean for Colorado's economy as a whole?

"For Colorado to be up for touring... is very, very positive," he said. "The other good news is because you went up as the rest of the country went down your market share increased. It's very, very difficult to achieve growth in market share. It's one of the most difficult things [to do.]"

Written by 9NEWS intern and Colorado State University student Kelley Bruce Robinson.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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