Newly announced rail and air connections to Denver International Airport (DEN) are projected to help grow Denver tourism numbers, but they may also prove to be a game changer for the Mile High City’s meeting and convention business.
Denver’s Regional Transportation District recently announced launch dates for commuter rail service to downtown Denver’s historic Union Station from the airport. Beginning on April 22, 2016, at a cost of $9, visitors will have access to the 23-mile ride giving them a fast and affordable option to get to the heart of the city.
“From a convention standpoint, this really helps to bring our city to the next level when our visitors can connect to our airport with such convenience and value,” said Rachel Benedick, vice president of sales and services for VISIT DENVER, The Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Meeting planners are typically looking for a scenario that is both cost effective and convenient, and this new rail line will feed passengers directly into our convention center area with access to more than 10,000 hotel rooms within walking distance by the end of 2016.”
The rail line will service eight total stations, including another new addition at the airport, the Westin Denver International Airport Hotel. Opening on November 19, 2015, the 519-room hotel is connected to the airport and will feature 27,500 square feet of meeting space accommodating groups of up to 800.
Last week, DEN also announced nonstop air service between Denver and Munich, Germany beginning in May 2016. The service by German airline Lufthansa will bring about 30 new European markets within one stop from Denver and will operate five times a week.
“Lufthansa’s nonstop service between Denver and Munich will stimulate travel between two regions that are already rich with synergies – from world-class beer festivals to innovation and entrepreneurship, Colorado and Bavaria are deeply connected,” said DEN CEO Kim Day. "Europe ranks as Denver's largest international market by region, accounting for nearly 30 percent of total passenger volume. This new service will increase Denver's transatlantic capacity by 23 percent, and increase our number of nonstop destinations served to 21.”
From a business perspective, Munich has a strongly diversified economy. It is the European headquarters of many international companies and is considered the high-tech capital of Germany.
With nonstop service to more than 170 destinations worldwide, DEN offers more than 1,400 daily flights on 16 commercial airlines. DEN’s domestic network ranks as the third-largest in the U.S., providing service to more than 150 cities. Welcoming more than 53 million passengers annually, DEN is one of the busiest airports in the world and was recently ranked 8th among the world’s 50 busiest megahubs.
Over the last decade, Denver has experienced unprecedented growth as a convention destination with the 5th busiest U.S. airport and expanded international service that includes recently added non-stop flights from Tokyo, Iceland and Mexico. Denver offers 44,000 hotel rooms citywide, and by the end of 2016, nearly one quarter of its rooms will be located within walking distance of the Colorado Convention Center, which was ranked among the top five in the country by meeting planners.
Celebrating more than 106 years of promoting The Mile High City, VISIT DENVER is a nonprofit trade association that contracts with the City of Denver to market Denver as a convention and leisure destination, increasing economic development in the city, creating jobs and generating taxes. A record 15.4 million visitors stayed overnight in Denver in 2014, generating $4.6 billion in spending, while supporting nearly 54,000 jobs and making tourism the second largest industry in Denver. Learn more about Denver on the VISITDENVER website and at TOURISMPAYSDENVER or by phone at 800 2 Denver. Follow Denver’s social media channels for up-to-the-minute updates at: Facebook.com/visitdenver; Twitter.com/visitdenver; Instagram.com/visitdenver; and YouTube.com/visitdenver.