Tourism projections down |

Tourism projections down

— Hopes are that last-minute travelers will decide to make their way to Steamboat this weekend.

Otherwise, the number of visitors expected to spend Saturday in area lodging properties will be down compared with 2005.

During the Saturday night during Labor Day weekend last year, area lodges were estimated to be 58 percent occupied with 8,782 people. Predictions this year call for 52-percent occupancy. That means about 1,000 fewer people than last year.

“It’s a bit disappointing, but I’m still certain that it will be a good weekend,” said Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Assoc-iation spokeswoman Riley Polu-mbus. “It has been such a strong summer that I’m not that worried.”

Last-minute travelers still could provide a boost to this weekend’s numbers.

“I think a lot of people want to go somewhere for Labor Day weekend,” Polumbus said. “I think some people have figured out where they are going and some haven’t.”

AAA Colorado reported that travel is up with Coloradans this Labor Day weekend compared with last year, according to bookings through the agency. Sales transactions for air and tour travel are up 27 percent over 2005.

To cope with higher fuel costs, which average about 40 cents more per gallon compared with last year, many travelers are not going as far from home, according to the AAA Labor Day weekend report. Fuel shortages and high gas prices are not affecting Coloradans’ plans to travel during the upcoming weekend.

AAA has noticed an increase in the number of bookings for Coloradans traveling in-state. Steamboat was rated the No. 1 in-state destination for Coloradans during the July 4 weekend, but is not ranked as a top destination for this weekend. The top destinations include Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, Denver and Aspen.

Aspen is a popular destination during the Labor Day weekend because of a jazz festival.

The most popular out-of-state destinations include Atl-anta, New York City, Phoenix, Billings, Mont., and Fairbanks, Alaska.

Labor Day weekend events in Steamboat include the Steam-boat Stockdog Challenge all day Sunday and Monday at the Stanko Ranch about 3 miles outside the city along Routt County Road 33.

“It would be a nice bike ride to go and check it out,” Polumbus said.

There also is parking available at the ranch.

The Pro Bull Riding Com-petition returns this year to the Brent Romick Rodeo Arena in downtown Steamboat. The Wild West Air Fest also is taking place Saturday and Sunday at the Steamboat Springs airport.

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