Colorado tourism suffered a $9 billion loss in 2020. Lodging properties were hardest hit. | VailDaily.com
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Colorado tourism suffered a $9 billion loss in 2020. Lodging properties were hardest hit.

Local travelers did their best to make up for lost bookings, but missing meetings and conventions did a number on earnings

Jason Blevins and Shannon Najmabadi
The Colorado Sun
Skiers wait for the Mountain Top Express Lift at Vail’s Opening Day on Friday, Nov. 20, in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/cdillmann@vaildaily.com

The coronavirus pandemic cost Colorado’s tourism industry nearly $9 billion in 2020.

The latest figures from the Colorado Tourism Office show travel spending dropping to $15.4 billion in 2020, down from a record $24.2 billion in 2019. That’s the lowest tally of visitor spending since the depth of the recession in 2011.

Things were looking good in the first months of 2020 but then ski resorts abruptly closed in mid-March, triggering an unprecedented shutdown of the state’s entire tourism industry. Here’s a quick review of the impacts of the pandemic on Colorado tourism, according to two annual state-commissioned tourism reports:



  • 31,700 jobs lost, to 149,500 traveler-dependent jobs in 2020 from 181,200 in 2019
  • 9.7% decline in earnings by travel-industry workers, to $6.7 billion in 2020 from $7.4 billion in 2019
  • 31.3% drop in traveler-generated tax revenue, to $1 billion in 2020 from $1.5 billion in 2019, which amounts to $439 million in state taxes and $588 million in local taxes
  • 52.3% drop in domestic flights into Colorado, to 5.5 million in 2020 from 11.5 million in 2019
  • 73% decline in international travel, to 280,000 in 2020 from more than 1 million in 2019

Read more via The Colorado Sun.


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