The first snowflakes have finally fallen in the Denver metro area, with more in the forecast. That’s great news, and not just for those us who want to get in some good ski days—it’s good news for our economy. And, you know why:
Snow means water. And, not just for Colorado but for the western United States. Our snowfall supports areas whose GDPs combine to rank just between the fifth and sixth largest in the world. So, now when you’re shoveling this winter, you can smile the entire time.
It puts Coloradans to work. Our tourism and outdoor recreation industry employs 177,700 people—with an annual payroll of $6 billion.
Those visitors spend cash. In 2015, 77.7 million people visited Colorado—yeah, you read that correctly—over 77 MILLION visitors. They spent over $19 billion (yep, that’s with a B) and that delivered $1.13 billion in state and local taxes (up 7 percent from 2014). In Denver, a record 16.4 million tourists visited in 2015, spending $5 billion. So, we hope even more Coloradans will go out of their way to say hello to visitors, give them directions and ensure they know we love having them in our state.
Visitors remember their experiences. Data tells us that many company executives first came to Colorado on a trip—whether a conference or a vacation. That trip is often the catalyst to conversations about moving here. Now you see how important your interaction with a visitor is—it can deliver long-term economic benefits for our state.
Our airport is an economic driver. DEN’s economic impact is $26.3 billion a year, and it is critical to many of those visitors coming to our state. It serves us well, too. So, for those times when you find yourself needing or wanting to visit someplace else, we want to make that easier, too. We have a new partnership with IdentoGO to enroll in TSA Pre✓. They are taking enrollment on the road and bringing it to travelers like you in an RV set up to enroll folks quickly and conveniently. The RV will be at the Chamber the week of Dec. 12. You can set your appointment time to get enrolled just in time for a new business year. Get Pre✓
We love all our seasons in Colorado.
To winter we say: let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
Kelly Brough is president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.