Overnight leisure and business travelers shatter pre-pandemic numbers.

DENVER (June 21, 2023) – In 2022, Denver welcomed a record 36.3 million visitors, marking a 15 percent increase over 2021 and surpassing all historic tourism totals by a large margin. A record number of visitors also spent more money in Denver than ever before, generating $9.4 billion in tourism revenue, far beyond the previous record of $7 billion spent in 2019.

“Tourism continues to be a key economic driver for our city, and we are pleased to see travel demand return in such a big way,” said Richard W. Scharf, president and CEO of VISIT DENVER. “In many regards, travel was a significant bright spot for our local economy in 2022, creating record spending at local businesses, generating millions in state and local taxes, and supporting tens of thousands of jobs.”

Overnight visitors totaled nearly 20 million, a 20 percent rise over the prior year. Growth was particularly strong in the domestic overnight leisure market, which rose by 13 percent over the prior year to a new high of 16.7 million visitors.  

The new tourism data was generated by the 2022 Longwoods International annual visitor profile study. Longwoods has been studying Denver visitors since 1994 and conducts research that provides a standard visitor tracking tool for many of the country’s top tourism destinations.

Longwoods also studies the impacts of VISIT DENVER’s efforts to target “marketable” visitors, the primary focus of the organization’s promotional efforts. In 2022, these marketable visitors increased by 18 percent over 2021 surpassing eight million for the first time.

Spending by overnight visitors increased in 2022 to $8 billion, a 45 percent increase over 2021. Among all traveler types, marketable leisure visitors spent the most at $229 per day followed by business travelers at $152 per day.

Longwoods International also conducted Return on Investment (ROI) research for VISIT DENVER’s 2022 summer advertising campaign, its largest of the year. The study revealed the strongest ROI numbers VISIT DENVER has ever seen, showing that the campaign generated 1.8 million incremental trips, generating $641 million in incremental visitor spending and $72 million in state and local taxes. Measured against spending, the campaign generated an ROI of $167 in visitor spending and $19 in taxes for every $1 in advertising investment.

Key numbers for 2022 include:

  • Denver welcomed 36.3 million total visitors in 2022, including 19.9 million overnight visitors and 16.4 million day visitors.
  • Overnight leisure visitors totaled 16.7 million in 2022, a 13 percent increase over 2021.
  • There were 8.3 million “marketable” leisure visitors in 2022, an 18 percent increase over 2021. This segment has the most discretion on where to vacation and responds to tourism marketing. This audience is the primary focus of much of VISIT DENVER’s marketing efforts and spends more time and money in-market than any other leisure visitor type.
  • Denver visitors spent $9.4 billion in 2022, including $8 billion from overnight visitors and an additional $1.4 billion in spending from day visitors. Total spending increased by 42.5 percent over 2021.
  • Denver overnight visitors spent nearly $2.3 billion on accommodations, and $1.3 billion on food and beverages.
  • Expenditures by overnight visitors on transportation reached nearly $2.7 billion. Retail purchases were $969 million, while overnight visitors spent nearly $685 million on paid attractions and other recreational and sightseeing activities.
  • On average in 2022, the biggest spenders were marketable travelers, who spent $229 per day, followed by business visitors, who spent $152 per day. Day visitors spent $88 per day.
  • Out-of-state overnight leisure travelers comprised 76 percent of visitors.

The top five states sending vacationers to Denver in 2022, apart from Colorado itself, were:

  • California
  • Texas
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Kansas

The top five cities from outside of Colorado sending leisure visitors to Denver in 2022 were:

  • Los Angeles, CA*
  • Phoenix, AZ*
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX*
  • Chicago, IL*
  • New York City, NY*

*Denotes VISIT DENVER advertising market

Top 10 2022 Visitor Attractions*

  • Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre**
  • Denver Zoo
  • Downtown Aquarium
  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science/IMAX Theater
  • Denver Botanic Gardens
  • Meow Wolf
  • Colorado Rockies
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Denver Performing Arts Complex
  • Denver Union Station**

*Based on survey responses

**Denotes a free attraction

Top 2022 Entertainment Areas*

  • “LoDo” Lower Downtown Historic District
  • 16th Street Mall

*Based on survey responses

Top 2022 Shopping Areas

  • Cherry Creek area (shopping center and neighborhood)
  • Outlets at Castle Rock
  • Denver Pavilions​


About VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau

Celebrating 114 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. Denver welcomed more than 36 million visitors in 2022, generating $9.4 billion in spending, while supporting tens of thousands of jobs and making Tourism one of the city’s largest industries. Learn more about Denver on the VISIT DENVER website or at Tourism Pays Denver. Follow Denver’s social media channels for up-to-the-minute updates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.


With press or photo inquiries, please contact:

Jesse Davis: (720) 417-9621 or jdavis@visitdenver.com

Caroline Campbell: (303) 549-3537 or ccampbell@visitdenver.com

Abby Schirmacher: (303) 358-0096 or aschirmacher@visitdenver.com