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Lodging Numbers Show Colorado Not Just A Winter Playground

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Tripp Fay, Copper Mountain
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Resorts, like Copper Mountain, are courting summer vacationers with activites like biking, hiking, and boating.

Tourism is a multibillion dollar industry in Colorado. Mountain resort communities do a majority of their business during the winter months – but summer can be just as profitable. According to the Denver-based travel research firm Destimetrics, Colorado’s resorts are poised to have a banner 2014.

A recent report for the Colorado Tourism Office found total, direct spending on travel in Colorado during 2013 was more than $17.3 billion, which supported 150,600 jobs. Nowhere is that impact seen more than Colorado’s resort communities.

Destimetrics analyzed 15 locations across Colorado and said the state’s resorts will see around a 7 percent increase in summer lodging revenues over 2013.

"Every month of the summer season has been up for each of the last several years. That momentum tends to sustain itself," said Ralf Garrison, director of Destimetrics.

He notes that potential travelers to the state are beginning to view Colorado as a year-round destination, not just a winter playground.

"The Pro Cycling Challenge is a perfect example of a major statewide event that not only enhances the Colorado brand, but brings the athletes, their associated groups and destination guests to the state," Garrison said.

Leisure spending during summer is growing faster than winter revenues, however the summer season only accounts for around 40 percent of the overall resort revenues. Garrison said the winter ski season lodging reservations continue to look positive.

"Using last year as an example, good snow at the end of a previous year ends up leaving a good taste in the mouths of vacationers next year," Garrison said. "We call it snow equity."

Destimetrics looks at advance reservations six months out, and as of the end of July the company is able to analyze reservations on the books through January 2015. While it’s a small number, Garrison said it’s up strongly over the same time in 2013.

For Garrison, that’s proof the lodging momentum which began the previous ski season and continued through the summer, will remain positive when snow begins to fall in the relatively near future.

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