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.
- Denver welcomed 17.7 million overnight visitors in 2019, a new record and 2% above 2018 totals.
- Overall visitor spending in 2019 set a new record of $7 billion, with overnight visitor spending reaching $6 billion, an 8% increase from 2018.
- Tourism supports 64,000 jobs in metro Denver, a 5-percent increase over 2018. In the City and County of Denver, approximately one-in-15 jobs is directly supported by visitor spending, representing nearly 7% of all locals jobs and making tourism the 4th largest industry in the City.
- Tourism saves every metro Denver household nearly $620 annually in taxes (this is the amount of tax dollars residents would have to pay if not for the more than $661 million in state and local taxes paid annually by visitors).
- According to Tourism Economics, residents received $140.48 of net benefit for every dollar of cost (tourism income – tourism cost) and the City of Denver gained $4.52 in revenue for every tourism dollar spent.
- In 2019, the unemployment rate was 2.7% in Denver. Without jobs supported by visitors, the unemployment rate would more than quadruple to 11.2%.
- In 2019, Denver visitors spent more than $1.9 billion in Denver hotels and other lodging establishments and a record $1.2 billion on food and beverages.
- Expenditures by visitors on transportation surpassed $1.7 billion. Purchases at retail stores were $674 million, while overnight vacationers and business travelers spent $537 million on paid attractions and other recreational and sightseeing activities.
- VISIT DENVER focuses its marketing efforts on "marketable visitors," those who respond to marketing messages and have a choice on where they vacation. On average in 2019, the biggest spenders were marketable leisure visitors, who spent $171 per day; followed by business travelers who spent $147 per day, marking the third consecutive year that marketable leisure visitors spent more per day than business travelers. An additional 14.2 million day visitors spent nearly $1 billion.
- In addition to generating jobs, tourism provides demand for bars and restaurants, recreation assets, attractions, and other businesses that are used by residents. Without such strong support from the visitor economy, numerous restaurants, entertainment venues, and shops that serve the local community would close.
- In terms of jobs and wages, visitor-related industries drive economic growth in the city of Denver. Industries such as arts, entertainment, and recreation; and accommodation grew faster than the general economy and represented an increasingly large proportion of the total economy in 2019.
Sources: Dean Runyan Associates, Colorado Travel Impacts 2000-2019; Longwoods International, Travel Year 2019