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SAM Magazine—Denver, Aug. 16, 2012—Average occupancy for the month of July in 16 Western destination resorts was up 4. 7 percent compared to July 2011, with the average daily rate up 4.5 percent for the same time period, according to the Mountain Travel Research Program (MTRiP). The data suggest that many mountain resorts have established themselves as summer destinations, not just winter ones.

MTRiP data come from approximately 260 properties in Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and California.

“After several seasons of increasing summer strength … we are confident these increases have become a trend,” said Ralf Garrison, director of MTRiP. “This is particularly gratifying given the volatility in leisure travel over the past several years, and a lack of any particularly encouraging news on the economic front.”

August was continuing the trend, with reservations up 7.1 percent compared to August 2011. This will be the fourth consecutive increase in monthly year-over-year occupancy.

“Some mountain destinations have fully recovered beyond pre-recession levels,” observed Garrison. “Unusually hot temperatures may well have helped lure visitors to the cooler mountain settings, but it appears that they also appreciate the lively summer vibe in mountain resorts, and that suggests to us that mountain summers may have come of age independently of their winter foundation.”