Visitation to Colorado’s mountain towns picked up over Memorial Day weekend, the official start to the summer travel season in the U.S.
But in Eagle County, the action really starts next week, when crowds descend on Vail to watch people — and dogs — compete in biking, running and jumping off docks.
“Our real kickoff comes with the GoPro Mountain Games. From that point on, it’s all hands on deck,” said Chris Romer, CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.
Travelers are heading to beaches and parks across the U.S. after being largely grounded for more than a year. In Colorado, a return to normal means visitors flocking to the celebrations of outdoor adventure that were pared down or canceled during the pandemic.
The mountain games in Vail, which have been drawing outdoor enthusiasts for almost 20 years, attracts about 20,000 spectators during busy weekends, according to estimates from the Vail Valley Foundation, the event’s planner. Last year, the games were cut back due to COVID-19 restrictions. Now, the schedule is packed, including concerts at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.
The games start June 10 and run through June 13. As of May 15, the occupancy rate for hotels in the area was about 40 percent, roughly equivalent to pre-pandemic levels, according to Romer. That rate will likely climb to about 60 percent once late bookings are accounted for, he said.
Colorado businesses that rely on leisure and tourism are optimistic heading into the summer. The state lost $10.5 billion in travel spending during the pandemic, according to U.S. Travel data, but the trend appears to be turning around with widespread availability of the vaccine.
Originally Appeared On: https://www.cpr.org/2021/06/04/tourism-mountain-towns-summer-sports-outdoor-recreation/