Colorado’s “8 Regions” system encourages tourists to travel from more popular towns to its rural neighbors. This new system has been worked on by the state and the private sector.
It was established in 2018 by the Colorado Tourism Office and Colorado Tourism Board. What we ended up with were eight new travel regions with names like The Pioneering Plains instead of Northeast and Pikes Peak Wonders instead of South-Central.
The grouping is also related to the topology of these neighboring towns and cities. If you say “Pikes Peak,” then this is a blend of mountain landmarks as well as new shopping destinations around these locations. This helps both the travel agencies and the tourists create a more seamless itinerary.
“They’ll see a name like the Great West and say, ‘What kind of western experience might I find there?’”
Eight Colorado Tourism Regions
The creation of these regions allows tourists to break new grounds and to discover Colorado’s overlooked towns.
“What we would like to see is a lift in the amount of economic impact in those less visited counties. We have a lot of strategies that are pointing toward that goal and that would count for success.”
- The Great West – Includes dramatic canyons and marbled mountains. These include destinations like the Hot Sulphur Springs, Kremmling, the small town of Meeker, and the Dinosaur National Monument
- Denver City & the Rockies – The urban lifestyle of Denver mixed with the outdoors adventure near the Rocky Mountain. Get to unravel the beauty of Bellvue, Brighton, and Broomfield!
- Pikes Peak Wonders – Mix of urban lifestyle with a more laid back, country community. Learn about historic downtowns and some fantastic rivers in the region. You’ll also see geological destinations and beautiful prairies in this region.
- Mystic San Luis Valley – Welcome to the peaceful plains of Blanca, Creede, and Antonito. These are just a few of the beautiful small towns in this region. The region is also filled with iconic architecture inspired by Hispanic and European settlers during the pioneering era.
- Canyons & Plains – Eads, Cheraw, Chivington, and Lamar are just a few of the featured in this region. Roam the beautifully preserved grasslands in this Southeastern Colorado corner and imagine the cattle-ranching lifestyle of the past. This region has a vibrant agriculture economy, with about 3,000 farms in the area.
- Pioneering Plains – Live like a cowboy in Colorado’s adventurous region. Here you’ll discover the Pawnee National Grasslands, hunt at the Wray, and ride horses at the Brush Rodeo.
- Mountains & Mesas – This region is filed with Victorian-inspired historic structures and accommodations. Telluride and Montrose are the featured towns in the area. At the same time, visitors can also enjoy soaking at the natural pools in Ridgway and Ouray.
- Rockies Playground – This is for the ultimate outdoor lifestyle. Whether it’s trekking in Vail or snowmobile in Leadville during winter, travelers will enjoy the state’s most famous ski towns. They also have historic shopping downtowns located at the foot of the mountain.
Colorado Tourism on the Rise
Colorado is one of the country’s top tourist spots. In 2018, the state broke the record for traveler spending, which happened to be $22.3 billion on Colorado trips and vacations.
Tourism is one of the most significant economic facets in the state. Ever since the dominant rise in Colorado’s tourism economy, the state has doubled down their efforts and investment in the sector. In 2017, Denver gained 17.4 million overnight visitors who spent about $5.6 billion.
The tourism agencies are also focusing on leisure activities that will entice travelers to have overnight stays in Colorado instead of day trips. The top three sectors influenced by tourism in the city were accommodation, food, and transportation.
Colorado’s “Come to Life” advertising has been the top-performing tourism effort in the country. Its advertisement on multiple platforms like TV, radio, and online has garnered a total impact in the billions of dollars.
Over the past few years, many cities and towns have also improved their public transport system. Others also offered free bus rides as well as more comprehensive travel guides. As tourists, it helps to have tech-enabled systems that allow you to navigate the city as safely as possible.
Colorado Economy on the Rise
Colorado used to be known as the “14ers:” 14 regions and 14 different industries. Connected by its rich pioneering roots and the massive scope of the Rockies, Colorado’s diversity is coined by the state’s beautiful landscapes. There are various plains, peaks, and valleys all over the state that attract tourists from across the globe.
Because of the remarkable statistics the state delivers ever year (consistently in an upward trajectory) businesses also flock to join in the Colorado boom. For instance, Fort Collins is now one of the most stable cities in all of America, even beating national statistics on unemployment, job growth, and household income.
The state is adamant in partnering with local and international businesses. The strategic location in the Mountain West region gives business access to 25 international destinations linked to the Denver International Airport.
Colorado also has a range of programs that empower entrepreneurs. They have the Aviation Development Zone Tax Credit, which gives a tax credit of $1,200 for every new full-time employee hired under a maintenance and repairs business. Then there’s the Job Growth Incentive Tax Credit-Higher Education Program that allows businesses to partner with any State Higher Institution to enable local “academic development and economic expansion.” Various top universities in the state support the program, too.
As the Office of Economic Development and International Trade noted, the state is where “access meets advantage.”
“We sit just west of the center of the country, or for geography buffs, right on top of the Continental Divide, but that doesn’t mean we’re entirely made up of mountains. Our central location makes an ideal home base to cater to markets across North America and beyond.”
It’s because of this cumulative effort that contributes to the state’s success. But, what do businesses have to do with the growing tourism sector in the state?
According to Longwoods International research, just in Denver, overnight leisure trips generally come from “Feeder States.” These are the regions where more frequent flyers are coming from. A few of these states include California, Texas, Florida, Wyoming, New York, and Utah.
Aside from the highly improved transportation modes, the increase of modern businesses has also become a part of the state’s growing tourism economy.
For example, in Denver, paid admissions like the Denver Art Museum, the Dinosaur Ridge and the Children’s Museum of Denver have been few of the top attractions in the city. Shopping and entertainment areas in the city like Cherry Creek and Belmar have become a favorite destination for travelers.
Because the state has a strong backbone in supporting businesses, these companies create more sustainable, large-scale improvements in architecture and trade. As of writing, the sector supports more than 165,000 jobs and contributes about $1.2 billion tax revenues, in Denver alone.
Colorado is now evolving from just a backpacking “nation” to a full-fledged tourism magnet. The state is already supporting other industries that also attract a surge of visitors like arts, theater, sports, agriculture, and the energy sector.
Because of the variety of destination offerings in the state, travelers of various interests have discovered the beauty and richness of the Coloradoan culture.
Colorado’s historic and bespoke B&Bs have become another way for tourists to enjoy the state. These “staycations” create a heightened experience by mixing the beauty of Colorado’s natural landscapes with unique hotel experiences.
Now, it’s not just the Rockies that welcome tourists from all over the world. These local mom and pop businesses, as well as established hoteliers, have revamped the definition of what it means to “travel to Colorado.”
Come to Life Philosophy
“Come to Life,” Colorado’s 2016 marketing campaign, has been the most successful tourism ad in the country. The ethos is about the one-of-a-kind experiences guests have when they visit the state.
Strategic Marking & Research Executive Vice President Denise Miller said the campaign “achieved one of the highest returns on investment of any destination nationally.”
With the rise of a fast-paced lifestyle and “Insta-perfect” vacations, Colorado undoubtedly stands out. Coloradoan lifestyle, though now complemented with technology, is still deeply embedded with one’s relationship with nature. These outdoor activities provide a refreshing option for vacationers to enjoy nature and detox from the fast-paced lifestyle in the city.
“We really wanted to create some romance and interest around what a traveler might find,” Ritter said.
This is one of the reasons why it’s refreshing to visit Colorado. The lure of a relaxing destination is not a one-time marketing campaign; it’s a way of life.