Midweek tourism forecast bullish

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Tourism in Steamboat Springs could be off by several hundred guests tonight, but area lodging properties will get a big midweek boost, and Feb. 28 looks strong.

The lodging barometer published by the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association anticipates that 11,700 visitors will check in at Steamboat lodges tonight. That's down by 400 from the corresponding Saturday last winter. However, tourism isn't expected to drop off at midweek this year the way it did in 2003.

The lodging barometer, which is not a scientific survey, projects 11,200 visitors will spend the night Wednesday -- 2,200 more than the corresponding Wednesday last year.

The 18,775 guest pillows provided by area hotels and condominiums are projected to be 75 percent full Wednesday. Hotels, specifically, will be 89 percent full.

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. spokesman Mike Lane said several corporate groups were boosting occupancy at the Steamboat Grand Resort Hotel and Conference Center this week.

Barbara Robinson, general manager of the Holiday Inn, said her 82-room property is in good shape for this weekend and beyond:

"The fact that we were solidly sold out (Friday night) and have just 20 rooms available Saturday is exceptional, and I'm optimistic about March."

Robinson said advance reservations for March are stronger than usual. Typically, condominiums get advance bookings sooner than hotels, she said. This year, her advance bookings for March are earlier than usual.

The Colorado High School Skiing Championships helped to fill her hotel Friday night, she said.

Robinson said January essentially was flat for the Holiday Inn, but she is optimistic about occupancy rates being up for the balance of the ski season.

"It's good to see the trend finally turning around," Robinson said.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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