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Colorado Setting The Bar In Tourism Gains

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BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) – The country as a whole is currently seeing modest gains in tourism but Colorado is the state that’s setting the bar high.

Main Street in Breckenridge has been packed with visitors on weekends and weekdays alike this winter, and experts say it’s not just thanks to the record snowfall the state has been seeing.

“I think the economy has a lot to do with it, with consumer confidence being high and unemployment down, those are always good measurable for us,” said Bill Wishowski from GoBreck.com.

Across the Western United States occupancy was up in January about 3 percent from the previous year.

“Occupancy is stronger than in 2007, which is our highest recorded season to date,” said Wishowski.

Breckenridge seems to be setting the pace for mountain destinations.

“Occupancy for the winter season is up 13 percent compared to what it was a year ago, fantastic numbers,” said Wishowski.

It’s also not just hotels that are seeing the spike in business.

“I own two restaurants and our idea behind that is if they’re here for five days we’d like to get them at least twice, once at each place,” said restaurant owner Matt FackLer.

FackLer said he’s seen an increase in business every year but can only think of one reason why it’s so busy this year: snow.

“Little green dollar signs falling from the sky,” said FackLer.

“Snow never hurts the equation. If anything it’s harder for the last minute traveler to find availability in town which from a business standpoint is great,” said Wishowski.

Not only is occupancy up, but compared to the last record year in 2007, the average daily rate for a room is up 10 percent.

“Every dollar that comes in goes into helping every facet of our town and people are tired but it’s a good tired,” said Wishowski.

The outlook for the next few months isn’t declining either.

“Easter being late this year always makes the season longer and it’s going to make April better, it always does,” said FackLer.

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