2014 welcomes more tourists

To date, the number of visitors at the Colorado Welcome Center in Cortez has doubled over last year.

The statistic has left Colorado Welcome Center manager Tiffany Alexander scratching her head.

“I wish I knew what to attribute the increase to,” Alexander said, “but it is wonderful news.”

Located on Main Street in Cortez, the Welcome Center celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and as of Good Friday last week, the facility had received a total of 1,254,458 visitors throughout its 25-year history.

“Most of our visitors who come in are headed out of state,” Alexander said. “The top destination they want to know about is Monument Valley.”

Alexander said prepping for the summer tourism season involves ordering and stocking more than 650 brochures, and maintaining knowledgeable and happy volunteers.

“We generally have three people working the front desk,” Alexander said. “Its more than one person can handle.”

Most of the people who stop at the Welcome Center are from Colorado. In recent years, Alexander said she has witnessed a growing number of Japanese tourists, but she added people from around the world have visited.

The most obscure question Alexander has received during her 10-year stint at the Welcome Center was about Colorado’s only geyser. Without the Internet, Alexander said she wouldn’t have been able to locate it. (It’s near Dunton.)

Last year, The Welcome Center had 41,456 visitors. Their top question was for directions to Mesa Verde, Alexander said.

The largest number of visitors ever recorded at the Cortez Welcome Center was 74,427 in 1992. The lowest number of visitors, 38,133, was recorded in 2001.