DENVER (CBS4) – New numbers show people all across the country love the city of Denver. Tourism to the Mile High City and surrounding areas set a new record last year with more than 14 million visitors.

Denver Zoo (credit: CBS)

Denver Zoo (credit: CBS)

The Denver Zoo tops the list as the most visited tourist attraction in Denver in 2013, followed by the state Capitol, Coors Brewery and Red Rocks. In a new report on tourism in Denver, experts say the city is changing from just an entrance for mountain-bound tourists to a destination city.

Coors Brewery (credit: CBS)

Coors Brewery (credit: CBS)

“I call it a ‘wow year,’ up 3 percent versus 2012,” Michael Erdman with Longwoods International said.

Longwoods International surveyed hundreds of thousands of visitors to find out who’s traveling where, for how long, and how much they were spending.

“Those visitors spent $4 billion. That was up 14 percent,” Erdman said.

“We set several records this year,” Richard Scharf with Visit Denver said.

It’s the first time Denver tourism has topped $4 billion. Scharf says it’s part of a larger trend in the changing face of Denver.

“In the old days we used to be a gateway to the Rocky Mountains,” he said.

Red Rocks Amphitheater (credit: CBS)

Red Rocks Amphitheater (credit: CBS)

Since 2005 Denver has seen an increase of 48 percent in the number of leisure visitors. Scharf says it’s because of good marketing and good attractions.

“So many things happening that we have to promote that its made incredible difference in our tourism numbers,” he said.

In addition to attractions, Denver tourists love to shop with the 16th Street Mall, LoDo and Cherry Creek topping the list as where buyers spend the most.

The report also says Colorado as a whole brought in about 27 million vacationers, a 5 percent increase from last year.

LINK: Visit Denver


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