Travel Scene: Colorado ski moguls expand resorts' appeal
The ski season hasn't started yet in Colorado, but it could come soon, and resorts in the region are gearing up for it by spending millions on enhancements.
Colorado Ski Country USA, the marketing arm for Colorado ski resorts, reports that members are aiming to build on last year's banner season by investing heavily on amenities for guests and improvements to operations.
Last season, Colorado resorts lured a record number of skier visits — 12.6 million — with heavy snows, an early start and a late closing. And this year resort owners are hoping to maintain that momentum.
Historically, the opening of the Colorado ski season could come as early as mid-October, although early to mid-November is the norm. The most extensive project in new season improvements is a multi-million-dollar children's center that one of the major resorts, Aspen/Snowmass is building at the base of Buttermilk. The center is called The Hideout.
But there are plenty of other improvements awaiting skiers and snowboarders. Here are some samples listed by Colorado Ski Country USA:
• Telluride has invested in new snowmaking equipment for this season, which will allow for greater snowmaking capacity in high-traffic areas.
• Winter Park Resorts' new Lunch Rock Restaurant will be a state-of-the-art facility open year-round, with 150-seat heated deck, 260-seat indoor restaurant, bar and hydration station all focusing on Colorado themes.
• Arapahoe Basin will unveil a new 7,000 square-foot Kids Center in the spring of 2015.
• The new Burton Riglet Park at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort will anchor the development of a multi-faceted ski and ride terrain-based learning facility in the base area.
• Silverton Mountain has purchased a new helicopter ski cargo basket especially made to accommodate the deep snow landings.
• Sunlight Mountain is investing in base lodge improvements that support the ski area's commitment to sustainable business and underscore their pledge to guest services.
Something more planned in Dubai
In addition to a host of other developments — the likes of airport expansions and improvements and new high-rise hotels — Dubai has announced initial plans for a new entertainment and resort complex.
The property development company for the oil-rich country is in the first phase of the $2.7 billion parks and resorts complex and one of the first attractions will be the Middle East's first Legoland theme park.
In addition to Legoland, the initial phase will include a Hollywood theme park celebrating the Indian film industry and another known as Motiongate Dubai, which will bring Hollywood characters to life.
According to the Associated Press, plans also call for a central retail and dining plaza and a family-friendly hotel, located in Dubai's Jebel Ali area, which is best known for hosting the region's largest seaport and the second of the Dubai ruler's man-made island.
The project is part of a broader push by the Arab world's commercial hub to ramp up its hotel and tourism offerings as it prepares to host the World Expo in 2020.
Tourism plays a growing role in Dubai's trade and transportation dependent economy. Dubai aims to host 20 million visitors by 2020, up from 12 million in 2012.
Latin American cities popular for U.S. tourists
A new survey by the Hotel Price Index shows that several Latin American cities are becoming more popular for U.S. travelers.
Figures show that during the first half of 2014, Mexico City advanced from the 20th most popular international destination for U.S. travelers to No. 16, Cancun from 24th to 20th, Panama City from 39th to 35th and Bogota from 42nd to 38th. Lima also joined the Top 50 with a No. 44 ranking.