This week I was honored to speak at the San Luis Valley Tourism Conference in Alamosa, Colorado. The theme of the conference was agri-tourism. Not only was I able to connect with many small business owners and non-profits in the San Luis Valley, but I also learned how important agritourism is to the Colorado tourism industry.
According to a 2006 economic report by the Colorado State University Extension Department, the tourism industry is a major economic driver for rural communities across the United States. In Colorado, 23 counties outside of Denver had more than 1000 jobs in tourism in 2005 and in 7 non-metro counties, 40% of all jobs were in travel and tourism.
Those statistics are not that surprising living in Pagosa Springs. What did surprise me, however, was that nearly 1/5 of travelers surveyed participated in agritourism activities more than 3 times per year. 56% of these frequent agritourism visitors were Colorado residents.
According to the report, an estimated 13.2 million visitors engaged in some agritourism in 2006, spending approximately 1.26 Billion. Of these:
- Agritourism was the primary trip focus for 4.1 million visitors who reported spending $807 million including 1.9 in-state visitors and 2.2 million out-of-state visitors.
- Unplanned agritourism added 6.7 million visitors who spent $189 million during their trips including 5.4 million in-state visitors and 1.3 million out-of-state visitors.
The greatest participation in agritourism activities occurred in Northern Colorado, the Southwest and the South Central areas of the state.
For more information on this blossoming Colorado industry, please contact us at 970-731-6325.