Called Mile High Tourism, Denver’s Convention & Visitor History, the 164-page book has more than 200 photos and documents the history of Denver’s $3.1-billion-a-year travel industry.
“The story of tourism in Denver is also the history of our city and our people. So closely are tourism and Denver linked, that it is impossible to imagine one without the other,” writes Mayor John Hickenlooper in the book’s introduction.
“The book is the story of a remarkable cast of builders and boosters – saloonkeepers and journalists, hotel keepers and museum guides, stagecoach drivers and 747 pilots – who tirelessly promoted the highest state, changing it from a once forbidding place of deserts and impassable mountains to one of the nation’s top year-round tourist targets,” Noel writes. “This is also the story of how Denver’s hundred-year-old convention and tourist bureau has grown into one of the most respected and professional such organizations in the country.”
Founded in 1909 following the success of the first Democratic National Convention in the Mile High City, VISIT DENVER is the sixth oldest convention bureau in the nation.
“In Denver’s first two years, 1858-1860, more than 100,000 men and women passed through the town on the way to the goldfields,” said Richard Scharf, president & CEO of VISIT DENVER. “After a journey of 1,000 miles across the Great Plains these travelers needed food, comfortable lodging, supplies and entertainment, so from its very beginning, Denver was heavily invested in the hospitality industry.”
Scharf explained Denver’s geographic isolation and location at the foot of the Rocky Mountains have made it a tourism hub for 100 years. “Denver is the largest city in a 600-mile radius so it has become the cultural, shopping, entertainment and sports capital of a vast region. All of these amenities depend to some extent on a prosperous convention and tourism industry.”
The convention bureau has gone by more than a dozen names in its 100-year history, taking on VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau in 2008. But, Scharf said, one thing has remained the same: Tourism is Denver’s second-largest industry, generating $3.1 billion in annual spending, while supporting 65,000 jobs. “The people of the city have always recognized the importance of the industry and have voted to build the airport and sports stadiums, expand the art museum, refurbish the zoo, build and then expand the convention center, and support marketing dollars for tourism growth. The success and growth of the tourism industry in Denver really mirrors the success and growth of the city,” he said.
The new book is available at the Tattered Cover Bookstores or at the VISIT DENVER information center at 16th and California, and sells for $39.95.
About VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau
Celebrating 100 years of promoting the Mile High City, VISIT DENVER is a nonprofit trade association that contracts with the City of Denver to market Denver as a convention and leisure destination, increasing economic development in the city, creating jobs and generating taxes. Tourism is the second largest industry in Denver, generating $3.1 billion in annual spending in 2008, while supporting 65,000 jobs. For more information on Denver call 800-2-DENVER or visit Denver’s official Web site at VISITDENVER.com.
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**High resolution image available upon request.