CO Tourism Sets All-Time Records for Visitation and Spending in 2015

Colorado Tourism Office_Denver CO

Denver, COThe Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) recently announced that Colorado once again set all-time records for total visitors, visitor spending and tax generation in 2015, welcoming 77.7 million visitors who spent $19.1 billion and generated $1.13 billion in state and local tax revenue.

This is the fifth consecutive year the CTO has seen record-setting growth. The state has posted a 31 percent increase in visitation, nearly double the 16 percent growth in travel nationally, since the depths of the recession in 2009.

The announcement includes findings from a collection of studies detailing the impact of Colorado’s tourism industry during 2015 along with the effectiveness of the state’s award-winning ‘Come To Life’ marketing campaign.

“The numbers speak for themselves, proving that our state is wise to invest in tourism promotion, and that our innovative marketing initiatives attract visitors who inject more than $1.1 billion into state and local tax coffers,” said Cathy Ritter, director of the Colorado Tourism Office. “It is clear that Colorado’s marketing campaign is not only inspiring travelers, but driving healthy gains in business earnings and job growth.”

Travel Expenditures Reach Record Levels in 2015
Highlights from Colorado Travel Impacts 2015, Dean Runyan Associates

Total direct travel spending in Colorado reached an all-time high of $19.1 billion in 2015, with two-thirds (66 percent) of that total spent by those who stayed overnight in paid accommodations (hotels, motels, rented condos, campgrounds, RV parks and bed & breakfasts). The state’s total travel expenditures increased by 3 percent from 2014, outpacing national spending growth, which remained flat year over year.

Underscoring the importance of tourism for Colorado residents, the state’s travel industry generated $1.13 billion in local and state tax revenues in 2015, an increase of 6.8 percent from 2014. To replace those visitor taxes would have required an additional $207 tax payment from each of Colorado’s 5.46 million residents.

Visitor spending also spurred job creation. In 2015, the travel industry directly supported 160,000 jobs, a 3 percent increase over 2014, creating earnings of more than $5.5 billion in 2015, a 7.8 percent increase over 2014.

Record Visitation; Marketable Trips Reach All-Time High
Highlights from Colorado Travel Year Report 2015, Longwoods International

Colorado welcomed a record 77.7 million domestic visitors in 2015, up 8.6 percent from 2014, including 36 million overnight visitors and 41.7 million day travelers. The state’s most valuable travel segment — marketable leisure trips – reached an all-time high of 17.1 million, a 6 percent increase over 2014. Marketable leisure trips, unlike business travel or visits to friends and family, represent travelers who have a choice of destinations and thus can be influenced by marketing.

“Colorado once again significantly outpaced the nation in travel and tourism growth in 2015,” said Michael Erdman, senior vice president of Longwoods International, “Marketable leisure travel to Colorado also rose at a much greater rate than this type of travel nationwide, which can be directly attributed to the Colorado Tourism Office’s marketing efforts to lure visitors to stay longer and spend more.”

View full reports for Colorado Travel Impacts 2015 (Dean Runyan Associates) and Colorado Travel Year Report 2015 (Longwoods International).

Photo courtesy of the Colorado Toursim Office. Image Credit: Matt Inden/Miles

Related Posts

Scroll to Top