Colorado’s sustainable tourism push shows signs of success |

Colorado’s sustainable tourism push shows signs of success

Jason Blevins
Colorado Sun
Colorado Tourism Office efforts to lure visitors to off-the-beaten-path destinations like Trinidad, where artists display their work in downtown alleys, are working, with 2018 visitation numbers showing traveler spending reaching record levels. (Jason Blevins, The Colorado Sun)

Travelers in Colorado set yet another record in 2018, but this time tourist spending eclipsed sheer numbers.

Colorado Tourism Office research released Thursday shows Colorado travelers spent $22.3 billion in 2018, a nearly 7% increase over the previous year while overall visitation numbers remained flat. The numbers indicate the tourism office’s two-year campaign to lure spendthrift visitors to less-trafficked corners of the state is gaining ground.

“I think this shows the plan is working,” said tourism office director Cathy Ritter, who three years ago launched a statewide listening tour to help craft a “tourism roadmap” designed to guide travelers off beaten paths while encouraging visitors to help protect Colorado’s natural resources. 

Back in 2016, on the heels of six years of record-setting numbers of visitors, Ritter was hearing from Colorado residents weary of the impacts of all those travelers. In 2017, the Colorado Tourism Roadmap pivoted the state’s clarion call for tourists into a more focused campaign promoting sustainable travel experiences.

The tourism office last year forged a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics to infuse tourism marketing efforts with respect for Colorado’s public lands.

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

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