Report: 2010 a good year for tourism

Colorado set records for overall visitors, overnight visitation and visitor spending in 2010, according to the latest results of research commissioned by the Colorado Tourism Office.

With a slower than anticipated post-recession recovery nationwide, Colorado bucked several national trends, according to Longwoods International:

Colorado remained the country’s top-ranked ski destination, with a 20 percent share of all overnight ski trips, an increase of nearly 20 percent over 2009.

Colorado outperformed the national average for outdoor and city trip segments. Colorado saw record increases in total visitors and domestic overnight visitation in 2010.

Colorado welcomed a record 55.1 million visitors in 2010, a 6.1 percent increase over 2009 and the highest total number ever reported. Of these, the state welcomed 28.9 million domestic overnight visitors, a 5 percent increase over 2009 and also a new record.

Colorado’s marketable trips in 2010 grew by 4 percent over 2009 to a record 13.8 million visits. Marketable trips are defined as travel that’s influenced by marketing efforts and aren’t comprised of visitors who are visiting friends or relatives or business travelers.

Day trips to and within Colorado rose by 9 percent in 2010 to 26.2 million trips, up from 24.2 million trips in 2009, another record number.

Tourism expenditures rose 5 percent over 2009 to $8.8 billion. The increase came despite the fact aggregate spending by domestic visitors in Colorado in 2009 was down 11 percent over 2008.

Meanwhile, business travel to Colorado rose by 3 percent to 3.5 million trips, which was not on pace with the national growth, but represented an increase following the sharp decline in 2009.

“We were very excited to see record numbers in terms of overall visitors, domestic overnight visits and, most importantly, visitor spending in Colorado. It also reinforces the fact that we must be aggressive with funding our marketing efforts at a time when other states like Washington and Texas have had significant cuts in their overall marketing spend,” said Al White, director of the Colorado Tourism Office.