Monday, August 02, 2010

Has the Tide turned for Tourism in Steamboat?

  I just read the June 2010 Sales tax info for Steamboat and it confirmed my thoughts over the past month or so that we are finding the bottom in tourism levels here in Steamboat.  If I may be so bold I suspect we may have turned the corner.  Why do I say that?  First as I talk to fellow business owners around town many are seeing their business firm up and several are seeing good increases over last year, two town seems busier than last year parking wise, three I see that the sales tax report shows overall sales taxes were  down 3.37% for June, retail was down 4.1% and lodging was down 2.1%.

  How could things be getting better if the numbers are down?  Well the best run businesses tend to lead us out of downturns and the friends I talked to definitely qualify for that and most of downtown and the inner circle of the mountain area were pretty torn up in June with the road construction significantly limiting access to downtown businesses and the promenade construction slowing things down at the mountain.   Downtown saw about a 10% hit vs June 2009 which looks to be driven by the tearup and rebuilding of 2/3 of Lincoln Avenue downtown ) I'm surprised it was only down 10%.  The Mountain area actually saw about a 12% increase which I think is a great sign.   Lodging is our most direct proxy for how tourism is performing and it was pretty darn close to last year even with our downtown torn up for road construction. 

  July numbers will really tell the story but I suspect that we will see more signs that things are stabilizing and possibly a couple of segments showing some growth over last year.  I know that most my out of town friends are planning trips, going out to dinner and buying sports gear to make the most of their time in Steamboat so hopefully that is a good sign for the market as a whole.  Real Estate sales are over 200% of last year to date and I think that is a good sign people are both more confident and will also be spending more time here going forward.  To see the numbers for yourself go to the City's Sales tax page here.

  I got a nice email from Scott Ford, one of our local economic gurus, that said this basically agrees with the Yampa Valley Partners economic forecast.  They expect an increase of about 4% in Gross Retail Sales in July.  He also said "I think we still have some significant challenges in the local economy - the construction industry sector specifically, but I think we are seeing more positive signs than negative."  Once we see construction come back things should feel a whole lot better around here.  It will take increases in Real Estate sales and clear out some inventory to do so. We are starting to make good progress on that this year but it will likely be a couple of years before we get there.  In the meantime if you need some construction work or want to build your dream home pricing is very good and you can get one of the best builders in town to work for you.  Ask me I can recommend one for you.

  For more info call Jon at 970-819-6930 or send me an email. I respect your time and will answer your questions thoughtfully. You can also click back to the Steamboat Springs blog main page or go to my Steamboat Colorado Real Estate page if you want to search for property in Steamboat.

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