The Mile High City welcomed 16.4 million overnight visitors in 2015, who collectively spent $5 billion, according to Visit Denver, the city's convention and visitors bureau. The visitor and spending totals exceed 2014's numbers by 6 percent and 9 percent, respectively, setting new tourism records for Colorado's capital city.
"This is the 10th consecutive year that we have generated record tourism numbers, which continues to validate Denver voter approval to increase tourism marketing dollars in 2005," said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver. "Since that increase in marketing dollars, Denver has seen dramatic tourism growth that translates into greater economic impact for the city."
Of the 16.4 million people who visited Denver in 2015 -- 1 million more than visited Denver in 2014 -- 13.8 million were there for pleasure and 2.6 million for business, increases of 6 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
The city's top feeder markets were Chicago, Houston, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Albuquerque, and Phoenix -- cities where Denver has spent most of its consumer-marketing budget.
"Out-of-state visitors typically stay longer and spend more money and therefore are the target of most of our marketing dollars," continued Scharf, who attributed Denver's record tourism to public investments in its tourism infrastructure -- including the Colorado Convention Center and a new public-transit link between downtown Denver and Denver International Airport. "One of the reasons we have seen such positive tourism growth is that we have a city that is willing to invest in its tourism product, and we saw that again in 2015 with voters approving important expansions of the Colorado Convention Center and National Western Center as well as the launch of the new rail connection between Denver International Airport and downtown that will pay dividends for decades to come."