Tourism up for Labor Day holiday

Chamber survey shows increase in visitors expected Saturday

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— Expect traffic and everything else in town to get busier this weekend - more visitors are anticipated for Saturday than there were for last year's Labor Day weekend.

The occupancy forecast compiled by the Steamboat Springs Cham-ber Resort Association predicts area lodging to be 61 percent occupied Saturday night. That means about 9,200 visitors are expected to sleep in area hotel, motel and condominium beds. That's about 1,500 more guests than stayed overnight on the corresponding Saturday in 2006.

Lodging predictions are up for mountain area hotels and condos as well as U.S. Highway 40 hotels. Downtown lodging properties are expected to have fewer visitors Saturday night than they did in 2006.

"Pretty much there aren't as many beds for nightly lodging in downtown now because of the redevelopments," Chamber Marketing Director Lynna Broyles said Thursday.

Wednesday night also is expected to see an increase in travelers - an anticipated 3,300 guests this year compared to 2,630 for the corresponding Wednesday last year.

The weekend of Sept. 9 shows the largest increase from last year, with an estimated 6,000 people filling 40 percent of the available space. Last year's prediction was for 26 percent of the area's lodging to be filled.

This summer, the Chamber has included in its lodging barometer report the actual occupancy numbers from the corresponding dates in 2006. Those numbers show hefty walk-in and last-minute traffic for area lodging properties, with mountain and downtown hotels ending up closer to full than had been predicted.

Late reservations are normal for Labor Day weekend, Holiday Inn general manager Barbara Robinson said. Last year, the hotel sold out on Saturday night. Robinson expected comparable numbers for this year.

"Especially on Labor Day, there are so many special events happening through the state of Colorado, it seems like people wait until a little bit later to make their final decisions," Robinson said.

Labor Day is known for having a lot of walk-in traffic from in-state consumers, Broyles said.

"Those consumers kind of look at the weather and decide last-minute what they're going to do. They have a good idea of things going on in the state, and they just wait and see," she said.

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