By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – Tourism is Colorado’s second largest industry and, in the middle of a global pandemic it has all but disappeared.

(credit: CBS)

“The tourism industry is a really important one — it employees about 174,000 jobs across the state,” said Abby Leeper, communications manager for the Colorado Tourism Office.

Abby Leeper

Abby Leeper (credit: CBS)

They are already working with industry partners to determine the financial impact and how best to respond.

“This crisis is different, it’s not a wildfire or flood that impacts one part of the state — it impacts the whole state, so that has been a big challenge for us. Not just how do we support one community, but really pull everyone up together,” Leeper said.

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When it comes to recovery, a major factor will be how long the crisis lasts and the feelings following.

“As much as we want to look ahead, we really don’t know what will happen and what the new normal for travel in Colorado will be,” she said.

At Denver International Airport, the outlook is bleak.

(credit: CBS)

In a memo to city council, obtained by CBS4 Investigator Brian Maas, airport administrators say airport traffic is down 90% from the same time last year and that industry experts predict it will be years before passenger traffic returns to previous demand.

Leeper says they will undoubtedly see a shift in the industry, but one thing remains the same.

“The landscape of travel around the world is changing and that does impact Colorado. What I will say is we know Colorado has something to offer travelers.”

(credit: CBS)

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Karen Morfitt

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