Everyone wants to visit Colorado and experts say it's not just about the weed. The Denver Post reports that a record 71.3 million visitors spent $18.6 billion in Colorado in 2014. That makes 2014 a new benchmark for tourism dollars and the fourth year in a row that visitor counts and spending increased. And it looks like ski country is most certainly pulling its weight. Despite a sub-par snowpack, Telluride broke all its records this past winter and according to tax revenues, Colorado ski towns are booming. And while many people argue that the state is reaping the benefits of legalized marijuana, according to a poll run by the Colorado Tourism Office, 65 percent of visitors said marijuana didn't make a difference in their decision to come to Colorado. Interestingly, among those who reported that pot did make a difference, 16 percent said they were more likely to visit due to weed sales, while 18 percent said pot made them less likely to visit.
More on tourism in Colorado:
Tour America's First All-Inclusive Marijuana Ranch Resort
Telluride Ski Resort Breaks Records, But Not the Snow Kind
Colorado Ski Towns Are Booming As Visitors Spend Big
Colorado Forms New Outdoor Recreation Office
Some of the most interesting tidbits on Colorado's latest numbers, pulled from the Denver Post.
· So where is everyone heading when they visit Colorado? Research from Dean Runyan & Associates report that the Denver metro area accounted for 50 percent of the state's travel spending, with mountain resorts making up the next largest chunk of 23 percent.
· For the first time ever, the state's tourism-dependent businesses generated $1.1 billion in local and state taxes in 2014.
· All those lifties and waitresses in ski towns are key to Colorado's boom: tourism supported 155,300 jobs in the state in 2014, a 3.3 percent increase over 2013.
· In total, a record 71.3 million people visited Colorado in 2014.
· Colorado is still king when it comes to ski country: the state remains America's top ski destination with a 21 percent share of all overnight ski trips.
· Where was everyone coming from? As any local on the hill will tell you, the top out-of-state markets for Colorado vacationers were California, Texas, Illinois, Florida, and New York. This explains why some people still ski in jeans.
· But Colorado locals know just how cool their state is, as they remained the top vacationers, making up 34 percent of all overnight leisure travelers in 2014.