Colorado is home to a vibrant hotel and lodging industry. From centrally located properties to small bed and breakfasts tucked away in the mountains to destination resorts like The Broadmoor, the Rocky Mountain state has accommodations for all types of travelers.
The state’s hotel industry is a key driver of our economy, attracting travelers from around the world. In 2018, Colorado welcomed over 85 million visitors. Once in the state, these travelers spent over $19 billion during their visits.
Their economic impact effectively creates jobs in communities throughout the state. At The Broadmoor, these guests are vital to the local economy and support nearly 3,000 jobs.
International travelers are another key factor to our economy — spending approximately $4,000 over the course of a trip to the U.S. This means business for hotels, restaurants, and retail stores, in addition to guided activities perfect for their Colorado vacation like the Falconry Academy or the Soaring Adventure zip line course offered at The Broadmoor.
However, international travel to the U.S. is at a crucial juncture. The U.S. has been losing its market share of international travelers, down from 13.7% in 2015 to 11.7%.
Simply put, more people from around the world are traveling, but less are choosing to visit the U.S., which has consequences right here in Colorado.
Over the past decade, an important public-private partnership named Brand USA, which serves as our country’s destination marketing organization abroad, has helped bring millions of international tourists to the U.S. Since fiscal year 2013, Brand USA has helped deliver over 6.6 million international visitors to America’s small towns and big cities alike. Colorado has a champion for this critical program in Sen. Cory Gardner, who is one of the lead sponsors of legislation to reauthorize Brand USA before it expires at the end of 2020.
Notably, Brand USA operates at zero cost to the American taxpayer. And the return on investment is undeniable. For every dollar the program spends, it returns an investment of $25 back into the American economy.
Brand USA truly does work for all Americans, creating jobs and revenue — and with no cost to the taxpayer.
Brand USA’s expiration would have a very real economic impact on the more than 1,200 hotels here in Colorado, as our local tourism boards have a longstanding partnership with Brand USA to bring more international visitors to our communities. Brand USA’s efforts to promote our national parks, ski destinations, local breweries, and more has supported 165,000 jobs across the state.
We applaud the commitment by Sen. Gardner and his colleagues to economic growth through travel and tourism supported by Brand USA in Colorado.
As Congress returns to Washington, D.C. this month, it is imperative that it passes Sen. Gardner’s legislation, which would reauthorize Brand USA. The more than 163,000 employees of the Colorado hotel industry depend on it.
Jack Damioli is the president & CEO of The Broadmoor, and Chip Rogers is the president & CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.