Last fall, a research firm hired by the Colorado Tourism Office surveyed the state’s visitors and found that legal marijuana influenced vacation decisions for nearly half of the state’s visitors. Marijuana supporters heralded the report as proof that legal weed is a major player in the state’s $19 billion tourism economy.
Not so fast, says the tourism office: That number is really closer to 23 percent.
Strategic Marketing & Research Insight group admitted the findings released last fall were faulty. At the request of the tourism office, the respondents were re-surveyed to delve more deeply into how they were influenced by the ability to purchase and consume marijuana legally.
In the survey, 64 percent of tourists over the age of 25 reported legal marijuana played no role in their decision to visit the state. Slightly less than 14 percent of travelers called selling of weed a negative influence but came to Colorado anyway. The remaining 23 percent of people who visited Colorado in 2015 said the availability of marijuana positively influenced their decision to vacation in the state.
Not surprisingly, interest in legal weed was higher among younger visitors. For travelers 55 and older, for example, 22 percent said marijuana sales made them less interested in visiting the state and 75 percent said marijuana had no influence on their decision to visit, totaling 97 percent of that age group. But among travelers age of 25 to 34, 66 percent said marijuana sales either played no role or negatively influenced their decision to visit, while 33 percent said weed was one of the reasons they vacationed in Colorado.