Aspen tourism booms in July |

Aspen tourism booms in July

ASPEN – Those bustling downtown Aspen streets in July were no mirage.

A report issued Wednesday showed a 78.1 percent occupancy rate for Aspen lodges last month compared with 71.2 percent in July 2011. Snowmass Village, meanwhile, did not fare as well last month, chalking up a 40.6 percent occupancy rate compared with 45.9 percent in July 2011. (Both the Silvertree and Wildwood hotels in Snowmass are closed this summer.) The report was produced by Denver-based MTRiP.

The news drew a generally upbeat email message from Bill Tomcich, president of central reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass.

“No doubt, July in Aspen felt like a mighty busy one, and actual occupancy numbers reported here indeed confirm that,” Tomcich wrote. “With an overall occupancy of 78.1 percent, this not only represents nearly a 10 percent increase over last July, but this is in fact the highest paid occupancy recorded during the summer months in Aspen since MTRiP started accurately tracking this data in 2006.”

Vacationers also paid more to stay in Aspen in July, with the average daily rate hitting $319 compared with $294 for the same month last year.

Bookings for August also are outpacing the clip for last year at this time, MTRiP reported. So far, Aspen lodges are showing a 58.2 occupancy rate for August compared with 49.6 percent bookings at this point in 2011.

In his email, Tomcich said Aspen’s occupancy rate should eclipse the 80 percent mark Wednesday, when the USA Pro Cycling Challenge rolls into town.

After that, the next big tourist draw will be Labor Day weekend, he wrote, explaining that “while overall occupancies as of July 31 were less than 70 percent in both Aspen and Snowmass, last year there were tons of last-minute bookings within 30 days of arrival, making that weekend the strongest of the entire summer for Aspen and Snowmass combined. Based on current trends, there’s no reason to believe that’s not going to be the case again this year.”

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