Denver, the vibrant city nestled amidst breath-taking rocky mountain scenery, experienced an unprecedented surge in tourism in 2022. Setting new milestones and leaving all prior records in the dust, the Mile-High City welcomed a staggering 36.3 million visitors, marking a 15 percent increase compared to the previous year.
With an influx of eager globetrotters and adventurers, Denver’s tourism revenue skyrocketed to an astounding $9.4 billion. This substantial sum, which far surpassed the previous record set in 2019 at $7 billion, not only invigorated the city’s economy but also exceeded all expectations.
Richard W. Scharf, the visionary President and CEO of VISIT DENVER, expressed his delight, stating, “Tourism continues to be a key economic driver for our city, and we are thrilled to witness its triumphant return. In 2022, travel emerged as a beacon of hope, creating a surge in spending at local businesses, generating significant state and local taxes, and supporting tens of thousands of jobs.”
The Longwoods International annual visitor profile study, a prominent authority in tourism research, played a pivotal role in unraveling the figures. Longwoods has been diligently studying the behavior of Denver visitors since 1994 and provides a standard visitor tracking tool for some of the nation’s top tourist destinations.
Notably, the study revealed that overnight visitors reached an impressive count of nearly 20 million, reflecting a 20 percent increase from the previous year. The surge was particularly pronounced in the domestic overnight leisure market, which saw a 13 percent rise, culminating in an all-time high of 16.7 million leisure-seekers converging upon Denver’s magnificent offerings.
Equally noteworthy was the surge in “marketable” visitors, the primary focus of VISIT DENVER’s promotional efforts. Surpassing the eight million mark for the first time ever, these marketable visitors grew by an impressive 18 percent in 2022 compared to the previous year, solidifying their status as a vital demographic.
When it came to spending, overnight visitors demonstrated their enthusiasm by pumping $8 billion into the local economy, showcasing a staggering 45 percent increase from 2021. Among all traveler types, marketable leisure visitors emerged as the most generous spenders, shelling out an impressive $229 per day, closely followed by business travelers at $152 per day.
Adding to the resounding success, the Longwoods International team conducted a Return on Investment (ROI) study for VISIT DENVER’s 2022 summer advertising campaign, renowned as their largest undertaking of the year. The campaign yielded the highest ROI figures ever witnessed by VISIT DENVER.
The comprehensive analysis revealed that the campaign spurred an astonishing 1.8 million additional trips, resulting in an incremental visitor spending bonanza of $641 million, accompanied by an influx of $72 million in state and local taxes. Impressively, for every dollar invested in advertising, the campaign returned a remarkable $167 in visitor spending and a noteworthy $19 in taxes.
To summarize the momentous year, here are the key numbers that paint a vivid picture of Denver’s tourism triumph in 2022:
- A staggering 36.3 million visitors flocked to the city, with 19.9 million opting for overnight stays while an additional 16.4 million explored Denver’s wonders during the day.
- The leisure segment dominated the overnight scene, accounting for a remarkable 16.7 million visitors and a notable 13 percent growth from the previous year.
- Furthermore, the highly sought-after marketable leisure visitors, renowned for their spending prowess, reached a remarkable 8.3 million, showcasing an impressive 18 percent increase from 2021. These visitors spent more time and money in Denver than any other leisure visitor type.