Colorado sees billion-dollar losses during international travel ban

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado took a massive economic hit when international travel was put on pause, but the tourism office is now ramping up its efforts to get the state back in business.

Starting Nov. 8, all foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated can once again re-enter the U.S. After almost two years without international travel, it’s a sigh of relief for many Colorado businesses.

“I am very excited about it. It’s one step closer to the recovery of our industry,” said Tim Wolfe with the Colorado Tourism Office.

Wolfe said in 2019, international travelers brought in $1.6 billion to the state of Colorado. The travel bans in early 2020 brought revenue numbers down nearly 81%.

“That’s a huge economic impact, in terms of a drop,” Wolfe said. “We dropped down to $300,000 in 2020 from 1.6 billion in 2019.”

Wolfe said the office is back to promoting travel to Colorado especially in countries known to have visited the state most often pre-pandemic. That includes visitors from the United Kingdom, Mexico, Australia, Canada, Germany and France.

The tourism office is projecting foreign travelers to bring back an estimated $1.1 billion in 2022.

“It’s just one step closer to recovery, and I am super excited to see that things are slowly starting to happen and give people the chance to experience Colorado and all that it has to offer,” Wolfe said.

Beyond ski resorts and mountain towns, loss of tourism and international travel hit the front range just as hard.

The pace of large group bookings in Dever is down considerably from the same time going into 2019. Places like the Convention Center are seeing significantly fewer large group bookings.

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