Leaf lovers to ease off-season tourism slowdown in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Leaf lovers to ease off-season tourism slowdown in Aspen

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

Fall offseason bookings for Aspen hotels and lodges are on pace with last year’s reservations made in advance, according to a local tourism official.

Bill Tomcich, president of reservations firm Stay Aspen Snowmass, said occupancy rates should improve in a few weeks when trees start to show their brilliant colors in the upper Roaring Fork Valley. The past few autumns have seen hundreds of leaf-lovers — also known by locals as leaf-lookers, leaf-lickers and leaf-peepers — making last-minute trips to the Aspen area.

“We’ve never really tracked leaf season as a real season here, but we’ve seen some very sizable last-minute bookings the past few years because the fall foliage is so spectacular,” Tomcich said. “As soon as the leaves start firing up and word gets out that there’s a lot of color in the high country, we’ll see a large amount of bookings.”

He said he personally has witnessed some “pockets of color” on Independence Pass and along Frying Pan Road in recent days.

Data representing bookings as of Aug. 15 suggest occupancy rates approaching 60 percent in Aspen for the third week of September, Tomcich said. The figure drops to 35 percent during the first week of October.

But more than half of the final bookings last year during the fall-foliage period were purchased within one month of arrival, he said. Therefore, the Aug. 15 data representing advance bookings shouldn’t be taken as a harbinger of actual late-September and early-October sales, Tomcich pointed out.


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