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A Record-Breaking Summer: Tourism Booming in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

October 18, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

It was a summer for the record books. The mineral hot springs town which promotes itself as a destination for family adventure and relaxation thanks in large part to major attractions like the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park has a good reason to indulge in a little relaxation of its own.

unnamed (1)After six years of anemic summer tourism seasons, 2014 marks the first year that lodging statistics have surpassed the prerecession benchmark set in 2008, and tourism purveyors are breathing a little easier.

“Anecdotal evidence suggested we were having a good season; the general feeling in the tourism community was positive, but when the numbers came out and we could see them in black and white – no red – we were elated,” said Lisa Langer, vice president of Tourism Marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, which is a vendor for the city’s tourism marketing contract.

For the first time since 2008, which is considered to be the ‘last best year’ for the town’s tourism industry, the city’s 2.5 percentaccommodations tax surpassed collections from ’08. In August 2014, the city collected $120,756 as opposed to $104,506 in 2008. The numbers are similar for July and June, with July ’14 at $132,418 over $111,513 for July ‘08, and June ’14 at $100,098 above June ‘08 at $91,832.

Record-breaking business throughout the summer months also helped nudge year-to-date bed tax revenues 3.5 percent higher than they were for the first eight months of 2008; $619,830 for this year as opposed to $598,609 in 2008. The City of Glenwood Springs also received confirmation it was exceeding expectations within the larger state tourism market. According to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report which tracks occupancy and daily rates for properties, the statewide occupancy rate for August was 79.9 percent, while Glenwood’s August occupancy rate was 85.7 percent. Only Loveland and Fort Collins had higher occupancy rates for August.

“Throughout the recession years we’ve stayed the course and remained committed and consistent with our marketing efforts. We are very encouraged by the outcomes we are seeing now which we attribute in part to those efforts, and in part to the improved economy on the Front Range from which many of our visitors come.” said Langer.

The accommodations numbers are considered a reliable indicator that the economy is improving, but it’s not just the lodging business that’s experiencing a recovery; many of the town’s tourism-related sectors are seeing a much-welcomed upward trend. “When visitors book overnight accommodations in Glenwood Springs, they visit our attractions, shop in our stores and eat in our restaurants; that’s a boon for business in general,” said Langer.

As Langer indicated, visitors spent money in other sectors besides lodging. Glenwood Springs’ sales tax was up 8 percent in August, and 5.4 percent for the year as compared to 2013, and was on par with August sales tax receipts for 2008. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, which added several new thrill rides and additional cave tours to its offerings, reports that this summer was one of its best. The Park’s visitor days were up 8.2 percent through August over last year, with 144,000 visitor days compared with 133,000 for the same period last year.  Glenwood Hot Springs, home of the town’s famed mineral hot springs pool and award-winning Spa of the Rockies indicates a similar trend for summer 2014.

As the summer season fades, ever industrious tourism businesses in Glenwood Springs are preparing to welcome visitors for the snow season. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park plans to introduce Winter on the Mountain, which will be open weekends throughout ski season for thrill rides and cave tours. The mountain-top attraction will be illuminated with more than a half million twinkly lights and feature a giant lighted Christmas tree, s’mores pits and a warming hut.

Visitors can also book Ski Swim Stay packages any time now for the upcoming ski season which opens at SunlightMountain Resort on Dec. 5. The best-selling package starts at $99 per person and combines skiing at Sunlight, swimming at the world-famous Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and a stay at one of the participating lodges. As a bonus, kids 12 or younger ski for free with a paying adult.

Glenwood Springs was recently named one of America’s Best Places to Live and Visit by Livability.com, and was voted America’s Most Fun Small Town by Rand McNally and USA Today.

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