Fiscal Year 2014 Advertising Campaign Results in Strong Incremental Travel Increases,
2013 Record Return on Investment (ROI) and Economic Impact for Colorado

DENVER (July 29, 2014) – Colorado set all-time recordsin terms of both visitor volume and visitor expenditures in 2013, welcoming 64.6 million visitors who spent $17.3 billion, the Colorado Tourism Office announced today. The announcement came as part of the release of studies detailing visitation and spending in Colorado, as well as the effectiveness and impact of the state’s ‘Come To Life’ marketing campaign.

“These record-setting gains both in the number of tourists who have been flocking to Colorado and the billions of dollars they have been spending while they’re here is big part of why our state’s economy continues to grow,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “We are fortunate to have so many hard-working and innovative tourism-related businesses and entrepreneurs. The state will continue to do everything we can to get out the word about just how awesome Colorado is.”

Travel Expenditures Reach Record Levels in 2013
Highlights from Colorado Travel Impacts 2013, Dean Runyan & Associates

Total direct travel spending in Colorado in 2013 reached $17.3 billion with 60 percent of that total coming from visitors who stayed overnight in commercial lodging (hotels, motels, rented condos, bed & breakfasts).

This record spending figure represents an increase of 5 percent over 2012. Since 1996, visitor-generated spending has increased at an average annual rate of 4 percent, earnings by 3.1 percent, and local and state tax revenues by 5 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

Underscoring the importance of tourism to Colorado, the local tourism industry generated $976 million in local and state tax revenues in the 2013 calendar year.  This represented approximately $199 of tax revenue per person in the state or $796 for a family of four. Without tourism, each resident would pay $199 more in taxes.

Visitor spending also benefitted Colorado’s local economy by spurring job creation. The tourism industry directly supported 150,700 jobs, a 3.8 percent increase over 2012, with earnings of more than $4.7 billion in 2013, a 6.8 percent increase over 2012.

“One of Colorado’s top economic drivers is tourism, and it is exciting to learn that our marketing efforts to attract visitors to the state continue to pay off in a big way,” said Colorado Tourism Office Director, Al White. “Another year of record growth in visitor spending and visitation underscores the importance of the tourism industry to Colorado and speaks volumes about the unparalleled visitor experiences Colorado has to offer.”

Fiscal Year 2014 Ad Campaign Spurs Incremental Travel, $2.6 Billion in Economic Impact

Highlights from FY 2014 Ad Effectiveness Research, Strategic Marketing & Research Insights (SMARI)

Colorado continued its acclaimed ‘Come To Life’ marketing campaign for FY 2014 (July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014). Working with Strategic Marketing & Research Insights (SMARI), the campaign demonstrated strong awareness and more importantly, generated significant incremental travel resulting in more than 2 million trips to Colorado.

Given the number of trips the advertising was able to influence and the level of spending by those visitors, there was more than $2.6 billion in economic impact for FY 2014. The campaign also resulted in outstanding return on investment (ROI) for the Colorado Tourism Office, with $344 in travel spending for every $1 invested in paid media, up from $228 in FY 2013. Colorado’s ‘Come To Life’ campaign was enhanced by a nationally focused public relations and social media program.

"The Colorado Tourism campaign continues to score among the highest we test in terms of messaging that resonates with people, and the campaign's ROI is at the top of the list of all destination marketing organizations we study – the highest we’ve seen in the past three years," said Vice President at Strategic Marketing and Research Insights, Denise Miller. “The importance of using emotion linked to personal values that inspire and empower cannot be overstated and that is a major key to the continuing success of this campaign.”        

Record Visitation; Marketable Trips Reach All-Time High

Highlights from Colorado Travel Year Report 2013, Longwoods International

In terms of visitation, Colorado welcomed a record 64.6 million visitors in 2013. The number of visitors coming to Colorado on marketable leisure trips totaled an all-time high of 15.1 million, a 4 percent increase over 2012. Marketable leisure trips are those trips influenced by marketing and exclude visiting friends and relatives (VFR). Overnight trips reached a record 31 million trips, an increase of 5 percent over 2012. 

To view the full reports for each of the studies, please click on the links below:

 Colorado Travel Impacts, Dean Runyan & Associates

Colorado Travel Year Report 2013, Longwoods International

Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and 25 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 11 national parks and monuments and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet. 

For more information or a copy of the 2014 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit or call 1-800-COLORADO. Follow Colorado on TwitterFacebookInstagramPinterestGoogle+Foursquare,  FlickrTumblr and YouTubeMedia are invited to visit the Colorado Media Room for story ideas, news releases, image gallery, and other resources. 


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Media Contacts:            Carly Holbrook / 720-289-9366, [email protected]
                                       Kirstin Graber / 303-892-3871, [email protected]