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May 23, 2014
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Aspen tourism to pick up steam between Memorial Day and Food & Wine

The Aspen tourism lull that usually occurs in the weeks after Memorial Day weekend and before the Food & Wine Classic won’t be as pronounced this year, according to Bill Tomcich, of Stay Aspen Snowmass.

Some days will still feel like the spring offseason, but business should grow leading up to what is one of the community’s longtime signature events, said the president of the local reservations agency.

This year, Food & Wine falls late in next month’s calendar: June 20 to 22. Consumer passes, the mainstream tickets that provide access to three days of cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and the Grand Tasting Pavilion at Wagner Park, have sold out again, which is typically the case.

“It’s going to be steady,” Tomcich said of hotel and lodge bookings in the four weeks between Tuesday and Food & Wine. “But I don’t see any sell-outs.”

However, the Friday and Saturday before Food & Wine, June 13 and 14, likely will be stronger than usual, Tomcich said. That’s because the Cosmetic Boot Camp, scheduled from June 12 to 15, is coming to town, bringing hundreds of new visitors.

Cosmetic Boot Camp is designed to provide “training and educational opportunities for aesthetic medicine physicians and their staff,” according to the event’s website, CosmeticBootCamp.com.

All meetings tied to the event will be held at the St. Regis Aspen Resort. There is a waiting list for rooms there, but other lodging properties have availability, Tomcich said.

“The Cosmetic Boot Camp has a complete buy-out of the St. Regis and has pretty much consumed all of the high-end properties around town,” he said. “We also have a number of weddings that weekend that are collectively driving occupancy to almost the same levels that we saw for Food & Wine on that weekend last year.”

Advance bookings for the summer season are looking strong, as well, not only for Aspen but for many mountain resort destinations throughout the West, said Denver-based Destimetrics, a company that tracks resort business.

Data from a recent Destimetrics report revealed the most current information about summer bookings in Western resorts. As of April 30, bookings for the month of May were up 12.7 percent compared with May 2013, with revenue up 19.5 percent. Current figures for the entire summer and fall seasons from May through October show occupancy pacing at an 8.2 percent uptick compared with the same time last year, with a boost in visitor nights for every month except September.

The national economy improved over the winter and is helping to fuel tourism activity, the company said. Increased occupancy, combined with modest increases in average daily rates, is pointing to a 13.3 percent increase in summer lodging revenue for the six-month period, Destimetrics said.

Tomcich said United Airlines goes to its full summer-season schedule beginning June 5. American Airlines resumes its full schedule June 11. Delta Airlines won’t be flying out of Aspen this summer, but its service always was planned as winter-only, Tomcich said.


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The Aspen Times Updated May 24, 2014 03:53PM Published May 26, 2014 08:17AM Copyright 2014 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.