Tourism and Outdoor Recreation
Outdoor recreation and tourism are woven through the fabric of Colorado’s culture and define the state. Domestic and international visitors are invited to “Come to Life” in Colorado. And while experiencing the outdoors is a large part of the lifestyle in Colorado, it is also a significant economic driver. Colorado’s tradition and passion for outdoor access is due in large part to unparalleled natural resources, as well as a long history of environmental conservation and stewardship.
Colorado welcomed a record 57.9 million travelers in 2011, ranking Colorado 18th in overnight leisure trips. Visitors also spent a record $14.6 billion in 2010, touring historic places, enjoying cultural activities and attractions, experiencing exceptional culinary experiences, and discovering eco-tourism and agritourism.
The most visible outdoor recreation activities for the state are skiing and snowboarding. Colorado is #1 in the nation for overnight ski visits. In addition to our winter recreation offerings, the state offers numerous opportunities for hiking, backpacking, camping, visiting state and national parks, biking, rafting, boating, mountain climbing and hunting. Outdoor overnight trips equate to 22 percent of the total overnight visitor spending, ranking Colorado 8th in the country for outdoor overnight trips.
Colorado is an international hub of outdoor recreation, with a concentration of outdoor industry companies estimated to be about 12% of the national total. The Outdoor Industry Association found that the outdoor industry accounted for over 107,000 jobs and $10 billion annual economic output in Colorado alone.
Download Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Profile