Tuesday, December 3, 2002
Steamboat Springs Airline bookings into Yampa Valley Regional Airport over Christmas and New Year's have increased as much as 15 percent from last year.
About 4,800 people are booked during the week of Dec. 16-22, 300 more than last year. During the week of Dec. 23-29, about 7,100 people will fly into the Yampa Valley, 1,000 more than last year.
And during the week of Dec. 30 Jan. 5, 3,900 people are scheduled on flights, 500 more than last year, according to the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp.
"This really is significant. That one week of 1,000 more passengers, that's really significant," Ski Corp. Vice President of Marketing Andy Wirth said.
The 1,000 passengers scheduled over the Christmas week is a 15 percent increase from last year, he said.
It's an early indication that the holiday season could be more profitable for the tourism industry in the Yampa Valley than last year.
Numbers over the holiday season were strong last winter, Wirth said, but it was still in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Wirth said he believes one reason for the booking increase is the availability of seats.
There are 7 percent more airline seats arriving at YVRA this year than last year thanks to guaranteed seating programs, Wirth said.
"One of the things that keeps pulling us backwards is accessibility," Wirth said.
He referred to Ski Magazine's October issue, which rated the Steamboat Ski Area as the sixth best ski resort in North America overall. However, it gave Steamboat a rating in the 30s for its accessibility.
He said improving accessibility into Steamboat would improve bookings. Increases this year may show that to be true.