Tourism is making a comeback in the state as a result of improved funding and attention to the industry. A major slump for the industry
began in 1993, when voters discontinued the state tourism tax. This resulted in a loss of $2.3 billion dollars per year and a 33% decrease in Colorado's market share. The legislature reinstated funding of $6 million in 1999 and in 2000 the Colorado Tourism
Office (CTO) was established as a branch of the office of Economic Development and International Trade. The new CTO is led by a 13-member board of directors representing various segments of the industry.
Throughout the 1990s, Denver grew by an average of a 1,000 people a week with more than 500,000 people moving into the area in a decade.
growth rate has continued. In 2014, Denver was ranked by Forbes as the sixth fastest growing city in the United States. Tourism in Denver has mirrored this growth.
Since 2005, Denver has experienced a 48% increase in tourism, growing to a record 14 million overnight visitors in 2013, who spent a record $4 billion.
- Over the same time period, national tourism has increased only 15%.
- The state had over 34 million visitors.
- Tourism accounts
for over 200,000 jobs within the state.
- Scenery, history, and skiing combine to make Colorado a prime tourist Mecca.
- Vail is the most popular ski resort center,
followed by Keystone and Steamboat.
- Skiing aside, the state's most popular attraction is the US Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs.
- Nearby are Pikes Peak,
the Garden of the Gods (featuring unusual red sandstone formations), and Manitou Springs, a resort center. Besides its many museums, parks, and rebuilt Larimer Square district, Denver's main attraction is the US Mint.
All nine national forests in Colorado are open for camping, as are the state's two national parks: Rocky Mountain, encompassing 265,000 acres (107,000 hectares) in the Front Range; and Mesa Verde, 52,000 acres (2l,000 hectares) of mesas and canyons
in the southwest.
Other attractions include:
- the fossil beds at Dinosaur National Monument,
- Indian cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde,
- Black Canyon of the Gunnison,
- Colorado National Monument at Fruita,
National Recreation Area,
- Florissant Fossil Beds,
- Great Sand Dunes,
- Hovenweep National Monument,
- Durango-Silverton steam train,
- and white-water rafting on the Colorado, Green, and Yampa rivers.