A report from the Denver’s Visitor’s Bureau on the impact of legal marijuana to downtown Denver and feedback from conference planners:
“As the marketing organization for the city, VISIT DENVER measures, records and reports hundreds of data points. The attached presentation highlights the safety trends and feedback we receive and closely track from convention and leisure visitors over the span of several years. VISIT DENVER realizes that homelessness is not a crime, and that it is just one component of the many issues having an impact on Denver and surrounding cities. However, it is important to note that visitors often do not recognize or distinguish the differences between panhandlers, travelers, homeless, and others but rather provide overall feedback based on personal safety and sense of security when visiting Denver.
There are several key takeaways from the information provided:
• The downtown environment is the #1 complaint from meeting planners, far surpassing any other categories. The severity of this issue has increased and as of 2014 nearly 50% of meeting planners negatively commented on homeless, youth, panhandling, safety, cleanliness, and drugs including public marijuana consumption.
• Denver ranks very high on walkability, affordability, facilities, and other factors. However, Denver as a “safe city” ranks significantly lower according to interviews with key convention planners conducted by an independent third-party.
• Denver is losing visitors and valuable convention business as a result of these overall safety (or perception of safety) issues. Unfortunately, word is beginning to spread among meeting planners about the safety challenges Denver is facing. As the marketing organization for the city, we fear not being able to brand Denver away from this growing reputation.
VISIT DENVER is committed to solutions that will improve our community for all who live, work and visit Denver. We are happy to share more information or answer any questions you may have.”