A healthy tourism economy is built and supported by Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) such as VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau, that use a portion of the local Lodger's Tax and private membership dollars to market Denver as a visitors' destination.

Denver visitors stimulate the local economy and benefit hotels, meeting facilities, attractions, restaurants, art and cultural institutions, tour companies, transportation providers, local farmers and countless other businesses. Tourism also offers many benefits for Denver residents and improves quality of life for the community.

According to Longwoods International, there was a 24 percent increase in overnight visitors to Denver in 2021 vs. 2020, with 16.6 million visitors spending the night last year, inching back to the record 17.7 million visitors of 2019. Spending by visitors also nearly returned to 2019 levels, totaling $6.6 billion, including $5.5 billion from overnight guests.

Key numbers for 2021 include:

  • Denver welcomed 31.7 million total visitors in 2021, including 16.6 million overnight visitors and 15.1 million day visitors, a 14.5 percent increase over 2020.
  • Overnight leisure visitors totaled 14.8 million in 2021, a 27 percent increase over 2020.
  • There were 7.1 million “marketable” leisure visitors in 2021, a 26 percent increase over 2020. 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 $6.6 billion in 2021, including $5.5 billion from overnight visitors and an additional $1.1 billion in spending from day visitors, a 26.2 percent increase over 2020.
  • Denver overnight visitors spent more than $1.5 billion on accommodations, and $974 million on food and beverages.
  • Expenditures by overnight visitors on transportation reached more than $1.8 billion. Retail purchases were $700 million, while overnight visitors spent nearly $500 million on paid attractions and other recreational and sightseeing activities.
  • On average in 2021, the biggest spenders were business travelers, who spent $173 per day; followed by marketable visitors, who spent $158 per day. Day visitors spent $73 per day.
  • Overall, direct travel industry employment totaled 35,890 jobs in 2021.


  • The average Denver City & County household saved $1,511.70 in State & Local taxes
  • The average Denver Metro household saved $631.84 in State & Local taxes
  • The average Colorado household saved $655 in State & Local taxes
  • The average Denver County resident saved $607.65 in State & Local taxes
  • The average Denver Metro resident saved $234.06 in State & Local taxes
  • The average Colorado resident saved $240.88 in State & Local taxes

Sources: Dean Runyan Associates, Colorado Travel Impacts 2021; Longwoods International, Travel Year 2021; census.gov

Business and leisure travelers to Denver are having a positive financial impact locally. Meet some of the business owners and industry professionals who make their living and create jobs through the power of tourism.

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