Aspen economy back on the fast lane: reports

People walk among vendors at the first Aspen Saturday market of the summer on Saturday June 12, 2021, in downtown Aspen. Animals weren’t a part of the attraction last summer amid the pandemic, but with restrictions easing, this year’s market has apparently returned to normal. (Austin Colbert / The Aspen Times)

Two reports released since Friday show what has become fairly obvious – Aspen’s economy is not only on the mend, but also on the rise.

As of June 30, lodge bookings in Aspen stood at 83.1% of paid occupancy in July, according to a bookings update released on Monday by central reservation company Stay Aspen Snowmass. That’s a record pace, according to the report, while noting that Snowmass Village has a paid occupancy rate of 67.1% in July. Combined, the two resort towns have an occupancy rate of 77.1% this month.

“July continues to be our busiest summer month,” the report said.

The Aspen City Finance Department, meanwhile, reported on Friday that retailers generated $ 40.4 million in overall sales in May, 81.9% better than May 2020 and 46% higher. before the May 2019 pandemic.

“Overall economic activity has returned to or exceeded ‘normal’ levels in most industries as we continue to advance in and through the summer season,” the city’s senior tax auditor, Anthony Lewin, noted in The report.

Aspen’s retail economy through May produced 16.2% more sales than in the first five months of 2020 and fell 2% from the same period in 2019, according to the report. .

As of May, Aspen retailers have racked up $ 327.8 million in sales, with homes accounting for $ 72.4 million, or 22.1%, of that. At $ 43.7 million in the same period, restaurant and bar sales accounted for 13.1% of the city’s overall business activity.

Despite this, the accommodation industry is down 12.6% from January to May compared to the first five months of 2020, and restaurants and bars are down 4%. Public health restrictions also closed indoor dining in January and restricted business in February as well.

“Despite the strong return of visits from March to May, the occupancy rate was reduced by almost half in the first two months of the year and created a considerable drop in tax payments for the year that is slowly corrected over time, “the report says.

As for the month of June, there was no Food & Wine Classic (it will be held in September), but Aspen Lodges had an occupancy rate of 64.8%, or 3.8% before June 2019, according to the SAS report. The report does not mention June 2020 due to the pandemic. Snowmass had an occupancy rate of 47.9% in May, down 1.9% from May 2019.

The report scheduled for this summer will be busier than ever.

“You don’t need this report to tell you that we are seeing an increase in summer business. Summer occupancy is currently 47.6% compared to only 15.1% in the same period last year. Compared to June 30, 2019, the summer occupancy rate on the books was 39.4%, a seismic level 20% higher than 2019. As expected, we are on track to break records this summer.

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