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PhD PROPOSAL FOR A STUDY:

UNIVERSITY OF DERBY, UNITED KINGDOM

TOURISM AND ECONOMIC GROWTH IN DENVER COLORADO

Brian M Touray MSc. Griffith University


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July 8, 2001

Introduction In 2000, a panel of economic development specialists included Denver, Colorado in its Top 10 List of the "supercities of the future". The potential for future development of the Denver International Airport, and around the airport, were primary reasons for Denver making the list ("Denver ranks as supercity", 2000). International travel, tourism and trade around and through the airport are good indicators of current and potential growth in the metropolitan and surrounding Denver area. According to 1999 studies released by the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau in the first quarter of 2000, consumer spending by tourists in Denver had risen by 12.4 percent, and visits to area attractions were up 6.5 percent within the city ("A good year for tourism", 2000). Statement of Problem Bad publicity in the early 1990s surrounding the antigay rights Amendment Two decreased visitors into the city nearly overnight. The demise of the Colorado Tourism Board around that time, and the state sales tax that funded it, were also considered contributing factors for low tourist visits to Denver. By 1995 Denver's image as a tourist spot was improving and it was hoped Denver had bounced back from its reputation. However, fewer tourists were visiting the

Mile High City. Regardless of a 65-percent increase in the number of people who felt Denver was an exciting tourism destination, 16 percent fewer tourists visited Denver in 1994 than in 1992 ("Denver tourism rebounds", 1995). The argument of this paper will be that with effort, demographic research and reorganization and an expanded scope for transformation, tourism not only returns to the Denver area, but also will stabilize and increase the city's future economic growth potential. Literature Review: Economic Impact of Tourism One of the primary issues helping to reinvent and transform Denver as a tourist center has been cultural diversity and wooing international tourist attention. A new level of resort hospitality style emerged with the internationally celebrated Scranton Denver. Scranton Denver offers international comforts and excellent amenities, which include suites, a fitness center, swimming pool, restaurants and an 18-hole PGA championship golf course. Shoptalk is spoken in several languages ("Tourism and recreation", 1993). By 1997, Denver hosted a 10-state regional publicprivate promotional forum aimed at creating cohesiveness between the travel industry and cultural facilities. This was a nationally held forum because of the 1995 White House Conference on Travel and Tourism, which generated Partners

in Tourism, a coalition of 12 public and private organizations headed by the museum association. Hosting and participating with other states on various tourism issues, such as the unique tax in the Denver area which benefits cultural facilities, educational programs, exhibits and free admissions, demonstrated the importance of collaboration and establishing partnerships with other museums, festivals and wildlife refuges (Smith, "Cultural sites", 1997). The economic impact of tourism development may not seem significant, unless viewed from an overall community economic perspective. During the course of Denver's major transformation of its tourism industry, travelers divided into two types: 1) general tourism and 2) cultural tourism. Cultural tourism is, in fact, a part of general tourism, which can be difficult to assess since many visitors participate in cultural events during their primary travel, whether for business or for pleasure. Some of the employment and economic development related potential benefits of cultural tourism include increased income from tourism expenditures, increased resources to protect and conserve natural and cultural heritage resources, new employment opportunities, increased tax base, improved infrastructure, and increased producing potential of local people, better environment because of civic pride. Potential disadvantages of cultural tourism are lower paying and seasonal

employment, increased taxes; development may lead to increased costs, unplanned traffic congestion and pollution, which can lower attractiveness of a community or region for investors (Walter, 2001). By the late 1990s, tourism in Colorado had become one of its largest industries, employing more than 100,000 individuals. Tourism growth in Denver and the surrounding area set a record in 1999 for the third straight year. The Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau recorded annual increases in every category it tracked: attraction attendance, passenger boarding is at Denver International Airport, gambling and other consumer spending. In metro Denver, tourism generates $2.1 billion in spending every year and employs 29,000 (Hubler, 2000). In the last months of 2000, Denver's economy was considered "rock solid" despite signs of softening in the US economy. For the majority, the city's low unemployment rate, increasing wages, low vacancy rates and strong job growth could shelter the city, if there is a national, or local, economic downturn (Svaldi, 2000). This study will recommend ways for tourism to contribute to this trend. Organization of the Study The study will be organized in five chapters: Introduction (Statement of Problem), Review of the

Literature, Methodology, Findings, and Conclusions and Recommendations. TENTATIVE BIBLIOGRAPHY "A good year for tourism." The Denver Business Journal. Online. WWW. 31 March 2000. URL: [http://denver.bcentral.com/denver/stories/2000/03/27/daily1 4/html]. "Denver groups lead promo effort." Hotel & Motel Management. July 25, 1992, Vol. 209, I. 13, p 42. "Denver ranks as supercity." The Denver Business Journal. March 27, 2000. "Denver tourism rebounds." Marketing News." June 5, 1995, Vol. 29, I. 12, p. 1. Hubler, Eric. "We've got something people want." Denver Post. March 31, 2000. Jamieson, Walter. "THE USE OF INDICATORS IN MONITORING: The Economic Impact of Cultural Tourism Initiatives." Online. WWW. 27 January 2001. URL: [http://cormier.icomos.org/ canada/bulletin/vol4_no3_jamieson_e.html]. Smith, Brad. "Cultural sites wooing global tourist dollars." The Denver Business Journal. February 28, 1997. Smith, Brad. "Event in Denver key to growth plan." The Denver Business Journal. February 28, 1997. Svaldi, Aldo. Denver Post.com. Online. WWW. 19 December 2000. URL: [http://www.denverpost.com/news/biz1219a.htm]. "Tourism and recreation." Colorado Business. August 1993, vol 20, I. 8, p. 30. Brian M Touray MSc. Tourism Management Griffith University