From The Denver Post (Danika Worthington):
Two reports out this week found that the outdoor-recreation and tourism industries, which often lend each other a hand, accounted for $28 billion and $19.7 billion, respectively, in consumer spending last year.
And experts in both industries don’t expect growth to taper off soon.
Neither the Outdoor Industry Association nor the Colorado Tourism Office could say exactly how often tourism and outdoor recreation intersect. But evidence suggests that the two industries are mutually beneficial.
Of the travelers who visit Colorado in the summer, 52 percent take scenic drives, 46 percent visit a state or national park, and 32 percent hike or backpack, said Cathy Ritter, Colorado’s tourism boss.
Similarly, Vail’s GoPro Mountain Games brings in 3,300 athletes and 67,000 spectators annually, generating $7.2 million in economic impact, according to the Outdoor Industry Association’s report, out Tuesday.
That’s not to say the tourism and outdoor-recreation industries rely on each other exclusively. The OIA report found that 71 percent of Colorado’s 5.7 million residents participate in outdoor recreation…
Outdoor recreation and tourism last year brought in $2 billion and $1.2 billion in state and local taxes, respectively. The state tourism report found that each Colorado resident would have to pay an additional $216 to replace the taxes that visitors kick in each year.
Outdoor recreation, such as camping, motorcycling and trail sports, directly creates 229,000 jobs and nearly $10 billion in wages and salaries, OIA executive director Amy Roberts said.
Tourism directly created 165,000 jobs that supply $5.8 billion in wages, according to the tourism office. In comparison, oil, gas and mining accounts for 58,000 Colorado jobs, the OIA report pointed out without citing total wages.
Since the recession, Colorado has logged a 37 percent increase in total visitation, compared with a 17 percent increase across the U.S. The $19.7 billion in tourism consumer spending is a new high for the state.
And both Ritter and Roberts expect their industries to grow — outdoor recreation aided by friendly policies, businesses relocating to the state and a strong independent retail sector, and tourism buoyed by the national “Come to Life” marketing campaign that helped grow Colorado’s share of the U.S. tourism market to 3.1 percent from 2.8 percent in a year.