Denver, prepare yourself for what could be one of the largest surges of marijuana-based tourism ever seen.
Next weekend’s plethora of 4/20 events — from the largest-ever Cannabis Cup to concerts featuring Snoop Dogg, Cheech & Chong, Slightly Stoopid, Matisyahu, Leftover Salmon, Wyclef Jean, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Ice Cube, Julian Marley, KISS Army, Talib Kweli, Paper Diamond, Tauntaun, B Real (of Cypress Hill), Method Man/Redman and many others — is sure to draw record crowds on this first stoner holiday after legal sales began in the modern American world. One Internet lodging giant released statistics on April 11 saying that the metro area is seeing a massive, 70-plus percent year-over-year jump in booking searches in 2014.
Denver searches made Jan. 1-March 27 for lodging on the weekend of April 18-20, 2014 on Hotels.com are up 73 percent over the same period in 2013. Colorado searches are up 78 percent using the same metrics, the company said.
It’s only one company’s data, sure, but that company is a behemoth — and they seem certain their data spike is a result of legal recreational marijuana sales, which started throughout Colorado on Jan. 1, 2014.
“Denver is a perennial Top 20 U.S. destination for Americans based on total bookings, but now what we’re seeing in the first quarter of the year is that even more people are looking to visit,” said Taylor Cole, director of public relations for Hotels.com. “The overall search increase can be attributed to a number of factors, including the law change, but our search data indicates that significantly more people are visiting Denver next weekend due to the local events and festivities that are planned.”
The company’s data shows that it’s not only 4/20 that has seen an uptick in hotel searches locally. Denver searches made on the site during the same period (Jan. 1-March 27, 2014) for check in anytime are up 25 percent from the previous year — and 7 percent for Colorado searches. These stats are less conclusive than the 4/20-specific numbers, because January hosted a couple high-profile Broncos playoff games and the whole winter has seen better-than-average snow at the ski resorts throughout the Rocky Mountains.