Was the tourist season good or bad?

At the monthly Mesa Verde Country partners meeting this month, Lynn Dyer reported that the National Parks in Colorado reported a definite down-turn in the numbers for the summer season, and that included Mesa Verde National Park.

The Mancos Valley Visitor Center also experienced a decrease in visitor numbers as did the Anasazi Heritage Center. However, Stuart Hanold from the Dolores Chamber of Commerce stated that the visitor numbers were up in Dolores.

Local lodging in the Mancos Valley seemed to be up overall for the summer season. Mesa Verde Motel reported that they are ahead compared to last year, although Enchanted Mesa Motel saw their season slow down earlier this year compared to 2011. According to Tom Hover, “we usually stay strong until Nov. 1 but this year we saw a definite decrease in visitors the second week in October.”

Sundance Bear Lodge reported that their numbers stayed steady compared to last year. Sue Scott, owner, said that one of the changes she noticed in how people travel is the number of visitors who don’t make reservations. She said that people show up at the last minute looking for a place to stay. “We actually had some people show up at 8 p.m. looking for a place to stay,” she said.

“That might work for a motel,” she stated, “but at a B and B you need to be prepared to feed all your guests in the morning.” According to Scott, the proprietor needs to be more flexible with this type of guest. She believes that travelers with smart phones may be changing the lodging industry.

Flagstone Meadow B and B reported a very good summer with visitor activity dropping off this week. Harris Court, owner, said that activity from European visitors was very strong and that he is already getting reservations for next summer.

Spencer Frost, manager from the Country West Motel, said much the same. He is also looking forward to a strong summer in 2013 with reservations being made now for next year. He also noted the increased number of last minute guests showing up and needing a room. He said he was surprised to see this among his European guests. “They are traveling a long way from home and usually want to be sure they have a place to stay,” he stated.

It sounds like the tourist season had its ups and downs. Mancos was hit hard with fires to the east of us and then road construction at our front door. All of which contributed to some negative impact on our small town. But, the lodging business stayed steady and things are looking up for 2013.

The Visitor Center is now operating on its winter schedule. The office will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and closed on Saturday. Remember those grant applications to the Chamber of Commerce are due on Thursday, Nov. 1. You can e-mail them to chamber@mancosvalley.com or be sure to have your application postmarked by Nov. 1 to be considered for funding. You may also drop the application at the Visitor Center, 101 E. Bauer. For questions, you may call the VC at 533-7434.