Inside the Chamber: Silver linings for Glenwood Springs tourism
Inside the Chamber
During the past year, destinations across the nation and around the world have seen a huge decline and in some cases a halt to travel. Although this community took a big hit in terms of visitation in 2020, Glenwood Springs fared better than many destinations across Colorado.
According to Cathy Ritter, executive director of the Colorado Tourism Office, the following occurred statewide during the 2020 pandemic:
• Traveler spending went down 50.1%.
• Hotel occupancy averaged 44% in 2020, down from 69.7% in 2019.
• Hotel rates were reduced to an average of $133.16 in 2020 vs. $160.21 in 2019.
How did destination Glenwood Springs compare with the statewide travel landscape?
• Traveler spending reduced by about 30%. That’s 20% better than Colorado overall.
• Glenwood’s hotel occupancy averaged 57%, down from 65% in 2019.
• Hotel rates in 2020 were at $131.58, slightly less than the state average.
The good news is we are already transitioning into recovery. The recent announcement that Garfield County has moved to Blue on the COVID-19 dial has been well-received, and more positive changes are in the offing. Immediate changes for Colorado and Glenwood Springs include:
• Easing of restrictions on dancing, masking for performers/athletes
• Parity with restaurants for parties of 10 — to be included in major update of the public health order this week
• Last call at midnight under Blue
Future changes for Colorado and Glenwood Springs venues, based on expected 250,000-400,000 vaccine inoculations by mid-March and 70% of 65 and older vaccinated by March 31:
April: 50% capacity with no caps; 6-foot distancing
May: 60% capacity with no caps; 6-foot distancing
July and on: 70%-80% capacity with no caps; perhaps 3-foot distancing
Here are a few upcoming silver linings, specific to Glenwood Springs:
March 5 – announcement of the opening date for 2021 Hanging Lake reservations.
May 18 – Citywide customer service training has been scheduled.
Mid-August – Start of the Rocky Mountaineer’s new U.S. route “Rockies to the Red Rocks,” featuring four weekday, overnight stays in Glenwood Springs.
As “stay at home,” “wear a mask” and the “new normal” become catch phrases of the past, Glenwood Springs tourism will look to the future with brighter hope. The fact that we are stronger together has certainly brought us through a year for the record books.
Lisa Langer is director of tourism promotion for Visit Glenwood Springs, a department of Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. For more information checkout VisitGlenwood.com.