Denver sets tourism records

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Denver International Airport

DENVER — The Mile High City set a tourism record as 16.4 million people traveled to Denver in 2015. That’s 1 million more visitors than in 2014, a 6 percent increase.

Overnight visitors also spent $5 billion, also a record for the city.

Longwoods International annual visitor profile study provided the numbers. It has conducted the study for Denver since 1994.

“This is the 10th consecutive year that we have generated record tourism numbers, which continues to validate Denver voter approval to increase tourism marketing dollars in 2005,” said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of the Denver Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Since that increase in marketing dollars, Denver has seen dramatic tourism growth that translates into greater economic impact for the city.”

The top five states sending vacationers to Denver in 2015, apart from Colorado, were: California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and Arizona.

The top seven cities from outside of Colorado sending leisure visitors to Denver in 2015 were Los Angeles; New York; Chicago; Phoenix; Houston; Albuquerque, N.M.; and Dallas/Fort Worth

RTD Free MallRide on the 16th Street Mall

16th Street Mall in Denver

“Out-of-state visitors typically stay longer and spend more money and therefore are the target of most of our marketing dollars,” Scharf said.

“One of the reasons we have seen such positive tourism growth is that we have a city that is willing to invest in its tourism product, and we saw that again in 2015 with voters approving important expansions of the Colorado Convention Center and National Western Center as well as the launch of the new rail connection between Denver International Airport and downtown that will pay dividends for decades to come.”

A study is underway designed to establish tourism goals for Denver for the next 10 years.

Top attractions in 2015

Visit Denver said shopping and entertainment were popular tourist activities in Denver in 2015. The top shopping and entertainment centers visited by non-Colorado residents were:

  1. 16th Street Mall
  2. LoDo
  3. Cherry Creek
  4. Denver Pavilions
  5. Park Meadows Mall
  6. Larimer Square
  7. Outlets at Castle Rock
  8. Belmar
  9. FlatIron Crossing Mall