Summer tourist traffic takes a breather

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— Locals will get a chance to take a deep breath this weekend as summer tourism wanes to moderate levels before gathering new momentum for the balance of July.

The lodging barometer released by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association on July 3 is expecting 6,368 visitors in town on Saturday, compared to 7,042 on the same Saturday a year ago. That number yields a resort bed base occupancy rate of 43 percent. The town is expected to be just as busy by the middle of next week the chamber projects Steamboat to play host to 6,111 visitors on Wednesday. Those numbers are indicative of a busy weekend to come July 14 and 15, according to Chamber Executive Vice-President Sandy Evans-Hall.

"It's just building up for Rainbow Weekend," Evans-Hall said. "The following weekend is the Mountain Soccer Tournament and I think we're going to stay busy from here on out."

Steamboat will host its 21st Hot Air Balloon Rodeo and the 27th Art in the Park July 14 and 15, two events that have consistently combined each year for one of Steamboat's busiest weekends of the summer. Looking ahead a full week, July 14 looks softer than the corresponding Saturday during Rainbow weekend last year, Evans-Hall said.

The chamber anticipates 10,506 visitors on July 14, enough to fill 72 percent of the resort bed base. That compares to 87 percent on the corresponding Saturday last year. However, Steamboat has added 2,600 new beds to its base since last summer, and that factor needs to be taken into account when comparing occupancy percentages, Evans-Hall said.

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