Annika Klint, trade and public relations for Colorado Tourism in Canada
Andrea Blankenship, director of international tourism, Colorado Tourism Office
Steve Strecker, marketing director, Colorado Ski Country USA
Tina and Annika Klint
The Colorado Tourism Office hosted a media event in Toronto this week where it broke down – by the numbers – why travellers should put the state on their ‘must-visit’ list for 2018.
From the four National Parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park where visitors will find the quintessential Colorado experience (snow-capped peaks, abundant wildlife, lakes, wildflowers etc.) and the less-frequented Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and its 800-metre-high black granite walls, to the eight National Monuments, eight historic trains, 30 hot springs, 1,500 ghost towns, 10,000 kilometres of rivers, 330 breweries (75 in Denver alone), 140 wineries, more than 90 distilleries (and a new spirits trail), and of course the 28 ski areas – to name just a few – this is a year-round destination with something for everyone.
Canada is a key focus for the state – with Ontario and Quebec the biggest markets, followed by BC, then Alberta – and while visitation was down slightly in 2016 (2017 numbers have not yet been released), “everything now points to those numbers going up again,” said Annika Klint, who handles trade and public relations for Colorado Tourism in Canada.
Unsurprisingly, skiing leads the way for much of that visitor traffic. A ‘ski mecca,’ Colorado is the #1 state for skier visits, accounting for 30% of the international market, including Canada, which Stever Strecker, marketing director for Colorado Ski Country USA, referred to as “a top five market” for the state.
Strecker also looked ahead to the 2018-19 ski season, and particularly from the Alterra Mountain Company (which purchased Intrawest, among others, in 2017). The massive ski resort company recently unveiled its new Ikon Pass.
This pass will provide access to more than 63,000 skiable acres at 26 North American resorts, including, here in Canada, Quebec’s Tremblant, Ontario’s Blue Mountain, Alberta’s Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Mt. Norquay, and BC’s Revelstoke. “The cost of skiing is becoming more affordable and the options are getting larger,” commented Strecker.
In terms of getting there, there is non-stop service to Denver out of Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary (including new service introduced earlier this month with WestJet), Toronto and Montreal; Air Canada alone offers 28 flights per week to Colorado.
Kerry Sharpe Columnist
Having worked in travel for the last 16 years, Kerry has experience covering the industry as media, as well as being under its lens when she worked for Thomas Cook, TravelBrands and itravel2000. A new mom, Kerry recently returned to the workforce and when she’s not chasing after her daughter, you’ll see her out and about covering industry events alongside her new BFF Tina the Travel Agent.