Economic Summit looks at tourism |

Economic Summit looks at tourism

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Despite some shifting trends in Colorado’s tourism industry, getting out-of-towners to visit remains vital to the state’s economy.

More than $7 billion flows into Col–orado’s ec-o-nomy an–nually from tourism.

“Tourism is still a major industry for our state,” Sandy Evans Hall, executive director of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, said Thursday.

Evans Hall discussed the state of tourism in the Yampa Valley with a few dozen local business and nonprofit leaders at Thursday’s Economic Summit.

One shifting trend, Evans-Hall said, is tourists using the Internet to book vacations closer to the date of their trip.

Instead of booking trips months in advance, tourists often book trips just a few weeks in advance, sometimes basing their decision on weather and snow conditions, Evans Hall said.

Yampa Valley tourism has also benefited in recent years from the Triple Crown sports tournaments each summer.

Evans Hall said the tournaments are an “insurance policy” for the region because even bad weather won’t keep tournament goers away.

“These people will come regardless,” Evans Hall said.

When wildfires hurt tourism in some parts of the state a few years ago, Steamboat’s tourism wasn’t affected as much as other mountain towns because of the Triple Crown tournaments.

“We did not dip anywhere near what our sister resort areas did,” Evans Hall said.

Audrey Danner, executive director of Yampa Valley Partners, said tourism at the Steamboat end of the valley has a big effect on Craig’s economy.

“People tend to visit a whole region,” Danner said, rather than simply visit one town or resort.

Danner, who lives in Craig, said that when tourists visit Steamboat, they often visit the region’s other towns and attractions.

“They go to Dinosaur (National Monument) for one day if they’re (in Steamboat) for a trip,” Danner said.

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