DENVER (January 25, 2023) – VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau, will recognize six “Tourism Stars” -- organizations that went above and beyond to create an especially impactful visitor experience. The awards will be presented at the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame Dinner at the Mission Ballroom on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.

“Tourism is a $6.6 billion dollar industry in Denver, generating nearly $680 million in tax dollars while employing 66,000 people,” states Richard Scharf, president & CEO of VISIT DENVER. “But tourism doesn’t just happen. It takes contributions from private businesses and organizations such as these six tourism stars to keep the tourism industry healthy and growing, especially in this post-pandemic era,” Scharf said.

The six winners for 2022 are: 

  • The Colorado Avalanche for their stunning 2022 Stanley Cup Championship;
  • The Coors Brewing Company, which is celebrating their 150th year in business by reopening a new and improved brewery tour program;
  • The Denver Art Museum which dazzled visitors with major shows such as “Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer,” the “Age of Armor,” “Saints, Sinners, Lovers and Fools,” and “Who tells a tale adds a tail: Latin America and contemporary art;”
  • DCPA Off-Center for their imaginative production and world premiere of “Theater of the Mind;”
  • The Denver Museum of Nature & Science for bringing the world to Denver with exhibitions such as “Egypt, the Time of Pharaohs, “Apollo: When We Went to the Moon;” and “Unseen Oceans;”
  • And The Rocky Mountaineer for making Denver a hub for their thrilling and luxurious train journeys through the Rocky Mountains.

Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame Dinner

The Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame Dinner is the premier annual event for Denver’s travel industry and is also a fundraising event for the VISIT DENVER Foundation, which in its history has awarded more than $1.3 Million in scholarships to 486 Colorado students pursuing higher education in the fields of tourism and hospitality.

In addition to the Tourism Star awards, four people will be inducted into the Denver & Colorado Tourism Hall of Fame:

  • Rob Cohen, who was the founder of the Denver Sports Commission and has worked to bring major sporting events to the city;
  • Business partners Jen Jasinski and Beth Gruitch, who have transformed the image of Denver’s restaurant scene with their four highly successful and award-winning restaurants, all located in the city’s top tourism areas, Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, Stoic & Genuine and Ultreia;
  • And George Sparks, president & CEO of the city’s largest cultural facility, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
  • A special posthumous award will also be presented to Hal O’Leary for his lifetime work founding the National Sports Center for the Disabled, and his work helping tens of thousands of disabled people enjoy skiing and other outdoor recreation in countries around the world.

The dinner will be held on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at the Mission Ballroom; for ticket information, please contact Lauren Huffer at or 303.515.1220.


Cultural Organization Winners

DCPA Off Center: Theater of the Mind was co-created by Academy, Grammy, and Tony Award-winning artist David Byrne and writer Mala Gaonkar and offered an exciting new theatrical experience where audience members see, feel, taste and hear. Inspired by both historical and current neuroscience research, the show takes the audience on an immersive journey inside how we see and create our worlds. Audiences were able to peer behind the curtain of the physical realm and marvel at the wonders of our minds as they followed their Guide revisiting key moments in their life in a surreal, 15,000-square-foot installation. Over 75 minutes, the audience of just 16 members moves through a series of rooms where they participate in thought-provoking neuroscience experiments, learn how easily your own senses can deceive you, and discover if perhaps identity is less fixed than you think.

The Denver Art Museum: Coming off their $150 million, four year construction project completed in 2021, the Denver Art Museum continued to show why they are one of the city’s top attractions with stunning new exhibitions that attracted visitors from the region and across the nation. Georgia O’Keeffe, Photographer brought 100 newly identified photographs by the groundbreaking artist, as well as several paintings, drawings and related ephemera. Age of Armor: Treasures from the Higgins Collection at the Worcester Art Museum, was an immersive exhibition featuring more than 100 objects highlighting the artistry, function and societal perceptions armor shaped throughout time. Saints, Sinners, Lovers and Fools: 300 Years of Flemish Masterworks was a unique presentation of medieval, Renaissance and baroque paintings, sculptures and other objects from the Southern Netherlands. Masterpieces on display include works by Hans Memling, Jan Gossaert, Jan and Catharina van Hemessen, Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Jordaens and Anthony van Dyck. Who tells a tale adds a tail: Latin America and contemporary art highlighted the work of 19 contemporary, millenial-generation, artists connected to Latin America and the ways in which their work reflects and interacts with relevant themes, and were represented through a multitude of media: painting, sculpture, installation, textial, video, sound, digital and performance art.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science: In 2022, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science staged three fantastic exhibitions that took attendees from Egypt to the Moon and under the oceans, while attracting tourists from throughout the region and nation. Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs, transported visitors to the distant past to explore ancient Egyptian culture and the land of pharaohs. Over 5,000 years ago, Egypt became a state that unified many cities and towns along the Nile River. Since then, ancient Egypt’s powerful pharaohs, phenomenal pyramids and extraordinary art have captivated peoples’ imagination all over the world. The exhibit let people experience everyday life in one of the most storied cultures in human history—the private, public and secret spaces—through hundreds of artifacts, stunning artwork and engaging interactives for insights into ancient Egyptian people and their impact on our own culture. Apollo: When We Went to the Moon was a family-friendly, multisensory exhibition featuring dozens of real objects from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center’s archives, while Unseen Oceans submerged visitors into a mysterious and spectacular aquatic world to discover the ocean’s best-kept secrets, including alien-like creatures, glow in the dark fish and other spectacular ocean life through movies, videos and exhibits. A video game allows visitors to drive a submersible just like real ocean scientists and explore the different species living in the ocean. 

Tourism Attractions Winners 2022

Coors Brewing Company:  After being closed for two years because of the pandemic, Coors Brewery once again opened their facility to tours in 2022, now offering an enhanced experience where visitors can see and taste traditional brewing at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. The new enhancements upgraded the tour format to enrich visitors’ overall experience, including the addition of a new lounge, personal tour guides, free samples throughout the tour, including a final product sample at the end, and complimentary branded aluminum cups for guests. Coors Brewery is the largest single-site brewery in the world! Since 1873, the Coors Brewery has thrived on a legacy of quality, innovation and customer service. On the tour, visitors can learn about the history of the brewery while visiting spectacular sites such as the huge kettle room where more than a dozen gigantic copper kettles aid in the brewing process. Then there’s the packaging department where thousands of bottles and cans march along on treads to be placed in six packs. Coors has turned the historic town of Golden into the biggest little beer town in the world with nine craft breweries and beer gardens nearby and in 2022, Coors began the first phase of a $900 million large-scale, mixed-use redevelopment of the CoorsTek manufacturing facility in downtown Golden. The new district, covering five city blocks, will account for approximately 1.25 million square feet of office, multifamily residential, placemaking retail, restaurants, public art space and a hotel. Also, in 2023, Coors Brewery will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a gigantic new brewing facility, a multi-hundred-million-dollar investment into the brewery that will completely overhaul the beer-making infrastructure. Another important outcome will be the ability to make significant strides in protecting the environment and contributing to the company’s sustainability plans. This includes reducing the energy and water use by as much as 15 percent each and waste by as much as 35 percent. 

The Rocky Mountaineer: Since 1990, Rocky Mountaineer has been operating luxury rail journeys through Western Canada and the Canadian Rockies. The trains travel during daylight hours and run at leisurely speeds, even slowing down in the most scenic areas. Passengers ride in the comfort of glass-dome rail cars, where they enjoy locally inspired cuisine and beverages. In 2021, Rocky Mountaineer launched a new route in Colorado with a journey called “Rockies to the Red Rocks.” The 2022 season began in April with Rocky Mountaineer carrying passengers from Denver through 28 tunnels as it climbed past snowcapped peaks to burrow under the Continental Divide and emerge at the headwaters of the Colorado River. From there, the route follows the river to Glenwood Springs, where passengers depart for an evening in the historic town. The next day, the train continues its journey through one red rock canyon after another until arriving near Moab, Utah and Arches National Park. Passengers can travel from Denver to Moab, or vice versa, experiencing some of the most luxurious and scenic train travel in the world. Rocky Mountaineer brought another exciting adventure opportunity to Denver.

Tourism Sports Winners 2022

The Colorado Avalanche: The Colorado Avalanche brought Denver its third Stanley Cup Championship in 2022, topping the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games in the Stanley Cup Final to capture the most prestigious trophy in all professional sports. Colorado’s title follows Stanley Cup victories in 1996, the team’s first year in Denver, and 2001, as the Avs became just the fourth team in NHL history to win each of its first three Stanley Cup Final appearances. The Avalanche claimed its title by going 16-4 in the postseason and equaling the NHL record for the most combined regular season and playoff wins with 72. Now with 11 division titles and three Stanley Cup Championships since moving to Denver, the Avalanche’s impact has gone beyond just a winning record and attracting a legion of fans to Denver from across the nation. The Avs have established a hockey culture in Denver, cementing the city as the Hockey Capital of the USA. In 2022, Denver achieved something that had never been done before by any other city, winning all four major hockey championships. 

1.            Colorado Avalanche: Stanley Cup Champions

2.            University of Denver Pioneers: NCAA Champions

3.            Denver East Hockey: National High School Champions

4.            Peewee Jr. Avs: Quebec International Tournament Champions

Colorado loves hockey, and the sport continues to grow at all levels across the state. USA Hockey members in Colorado include 15,000 youth and high school players, 7,500 adult players and more than 10,000 coaches and volunteers. The participation of girls in the sport has grown by more than 30 percent each season. There are 14 facilities in metro Denver, featuring 25 sheets of ice, and an additional 33 facilities with 49 sheets of ice throughout the rest of the state.

All of this was exemplified by the more than 500,000 hockey fans who turned out to cheer the Colorado Avalanche in their 2022 Stanley Cup Victory Parade.


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 31.7 million visitors in 2021, generating $6.6 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.

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