Longwoods Report: Colorado Tourism At Record Levels In 2010

The Colorado Tourism Office’s yearly study of Colorado’s travel and tourism market, conducted by Longwoods International, was released yesterday. After several years of decline, Colorado’s tourism industry had record gains in 2010.

According to the 2010 report, a record 55.1 million people visited Colorado last year, a 6.1 percent increase from 2009. Visitors also spent a total $10.15 billion in the state (a 4.6 percent increase from 2009) and $3.3 billion (a 6.5 percent rise) in Denver.

Of a total 28.9 million overnight visits, 3.5 million were for business. The average visitor stayed in Colorado 4.8 nights. Denver alone comprised 12.7 million of the state’s overnight visits, with top destinations including the 16th Street Mall and shopping in Cherry Creek. One interesting surprise: 42 percent of Colorado’s overnight visitors live instate.

Colorado remained the nation’s preeminent ski destination in 2010 with 12 million total skier visits. However, 30 percent of travelers in 2010 came to the state specifically to visit historic sites, while 20 percent sought cultural experiences. This suggests an interest in Colorado’s breadth of activities beyond the typical skiing/snowboarding outdoor adventure.

Out of state visitors came largely from California and Texas in 2010, followed by Arizona, Illinois, New Mexico, Florida, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and New York.

Colorado ranked 8th out of the 50 states in 2010 for its share of all overnight outdoor trips.