Every day, thousands of visitors heed the call of Colorado’s crisp air, breathtaking mountains, roaring rivers and hundreds of miles of challenging trails.
Like magnets, travelers are drawn to our state, home to a myriad of activities ranging from world-class theater productions to rock climbing and winter-related vacations just up I-70 West.
Really, can you blame them?
I certainly cannot. In my opinion, there is no better place than Colorado. We enjoy more than 300 days of sunshine every year. We are just a short trip away from a perfect powder day. We can ride our bikes to work almost anytime (and everyday if you are really hardy) and, here, the North Face or Ouray jacket you wear on the weekend is perfectly acceptable to wear with your business suit during the week.
Despite the downturn in the economy, tourism remains the second-largest industry in the City and County of Denver and in the state as a whole. In 2009, 12.1 million visitors – nearly half of all visitors to Colorado – spent $2.8 billion in the metro area alone, supporting about 50,000 tourism-related jobs.
Judging by the piles of snow our ski resorts are collecting, this year is stacking up to be just as good.
Last month, when the SnowSports Industries America 39th annual Snow Show was held in Denver, industry insiders said if the snow keeps falling like it has so far this season, snow-sports spending for the 2010-11 season will be the new benchmark. So, we say “let it snow.” Get out there and enjoy it while you can.
In addition to those many natural wonders, Colorado is lucky to have such great advocates for all these amenities at VISIT DENVER. Richard Scharf and his team work tirelessly to elevate Denver and Colorado as a destination for tourists and conventioneers. (Did I mention that because of VISIT DENVER’s efforts in 2010, Denver recorded its second-best year ever for conventions? While the rest of the country was seeing a dip, this team delivered more.)
Tonight, VISIT DENVER will induct three pillars of Colorado’s community into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame: Former Governor Bill Ritter, dance figure Cleo Parker Robinson and former Colorado Springs convention bureau chief Terry Sullivan will be feted for having been unwavering in their support of Denver and Colorado as destinations.
The event serves as a fundraiser for the VISIT DENVER Foundation, which provides scholarships to college students studying tourism and hospitality.
Congratulations to each of the inductees. Also, a huge thank you from the business community to our friends at VISIT DENVER for doing so much to make our region stronger economically.