Get ready for summer

It looks like we may be able to anticipate a busy summer this year. I attended the partners meeting on Feb. 28. For those of you who might not be familiar with this group, it is a meeting sponsored by Mesa Verde Country, our tourism agency for Montezuma County, that brings together the Chambers in the County as well as representatives from Mesa Verde National Park, the Anasazi Heritage Center and public lands. We meet monthly from February through October. It is a way to share and stay current with events and activities in the region.

I was warned that inquiries about the region are definitely up and that I can expect to see requests for information at about 200. Typically, requests at this time of year might be around 20. They are projecting that travel to the region should be up for 2013. Yea!!! Let's be ready for it.

I also received a report from Mesa Verde National Park that stated, "A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2011 shows that the 572,329 visitors to Mesa Verde National Park spent $43,382 million in communities surrounding the park. This spending supported 574 jobs in the local area." If the Mesa Verde visitor numbers go up this year perhaps the Valley will see an increase in activity here. According to the report, most visitor spending supports jobs in lodging, food, and beverage service (63 percent) followed by recreation and entertainment (17 percent), other retail (11 percent), transportation and fuel (7 percent) and wholesale and manufacturing (2 percent).

Another positive report came from Colorado.com. According to a report on the "State of the American Traveler," travel expectations have shown a definite increase, with 33 percent of Americans planning to travel more in 2013 than in the past year. Travelers who plan to spend more have increased to 34 percent which is up from 27 percent six months ago. These travel expectations are at levels not seen since early 2008.

Apparently, leisure travelers believe they are in a better position to spend money on travel because the travel survey also showed that only 41 percent reported that "personal financial reasons" have kept them from traveling more, compared to 48 percent six months ago. Fewer travelers are reporting that gasoline prices might prevent them from traveling. It appears there are fewer barriers to traveling and people are getting ready to hit the road again.

Another interesting feature in the report states that fewer people are going to be looking for deals and discounts. "When first measured immediately after the financial crisis of 2008, 66 percent of American leisure travelers said they would be actively seeking travel discounts and bargains. This figure has dropped dramatically to 51 percent as the economy has recovered.

The survey revealed that travelers usually dine out, shop, like to visit small towns and historic places. They also enjoy visiting national parks, sightseeing in rural areas and hiking. Well, Mancos we are well positioned to offer leisure travelers all of those activities. On your mark, get set ...