Colorado’s scenery isn’t the only reason visitors choose to vacation here. Colorado also has a rich history and “heritage tourism” is an important part of Colorado’s tourism economy. Not only do out-of-state visitors come for the well-known historic attractions like Mesa Verde and Bent’s Old Fort, but Colorado residents also spend a lot of time and money touring and learning about the history of their own state.
So how much does heritage tourism contribute to the state’s economy? A lot, actually. According to the most recent Colorado Visitor’s Study, which covers 2011 (the 2012 report will be released in May), nearly a third of Colorado visitors cited “historic places” as one of their “specific interests” in their trip. Further, 75% of those who were visiting Colorado not counting for skiing or outdoor recreation cited “historic places” as their reason for visiting. And, interestingly, 11% of visitors who came to Colorado on a ski trip also visited a historic site while here, which is also 1% more than ski vacationers who visited a spa while on their ski trip! For more on the contribution of heritage tourism and historic preservation to the state’s economy, see the Colorado Office of Archaeology & Historic Preservation’s new report, The Economic Power of Heritage and Place.
If you’re interested in visiting the historic sites around Colorado, whether you live here or far away, check out History and Heritage on the state’s official tourism website. This handy guide can help you choose where to spend your tourism dollars, while learning and having fun in the process!
For more about the Colorado Tourism Office’s heritage tourism program, click here.