Montrose, CO – Preliminary results from a study co-commissioned by the City of Montrose has added new data to confirm and characterize Montrose's role as the regional commerce hub for visitors traveling through the Montrose Regional Airport, and as the number one provider of essential goods and services to residents of Ouray and San Miguel counties.
The report, prepared by the Business Research Division of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder and RRC Associates, also of Boulder, was presented to City Councilors at their September 4, work session.
The study is a joint effort funded by the City of Montrose and the Colorado Flights Alliance (CFA). The CFA, formally known as the Telluride-Montrose Regional Air Organization, serves Montrose, Ouray Telluride and Mountain Village by promoting tourism in the region with air travel through the Montrose Regional Airport.
According to the study, "across the three-county (Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel) region in 2016, tourism was estimated to directly or indirectly support 7,432 jobs, generate $795 million in economic output, and produce $239 million in labor income."
From the three-county region, 2,634 of these jobs were held by workers in Montrose County, a 34-percent share in the total, according to the study. Ouray County workers, accounting for a 16-percent share, held approximately 1,225 jobs and residents of San Miguel County held 3,572 jobs for a 48-percent share.
Of the 7,432 jobs listed as a benefit from tourism, 3,590 were attributed to the Montrose Regional Airport while 2,096 were attributed to efforts by the Colorado Flights Alliance.
The Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ), identified as "a major conduit to the region for visitors and second homeowners," is estimated to have directly or indirectly supported 3,590 jobs in 2016. Scheduled flights into MTJ attributed to $427 million in economic output, and $122 million in labor income across the region, according to the study. The economic benefit of MTJ highlighted in the report said that of the 3,590 jobs, approximately 2,111 were in San Miguel County, 1,164 in Montrose County, and 315 in Ouray County.
"As a subset of all MTJ flights, CFA flights were estimated to directly or indirectly support 2,096 jobs across the region, generate $258 million in economic output, and produce $72 million in labor income. Approximately 1,305 of these jobs were estimated to be filled by San Miguel County residents, 606 were filled by Montrose County residents, and 185 were filled by Ouray County residents," the report concludes.
The survey was conducted in 2017. Participants were selected at random through county assessor records to sample 3,000 full-time resident households in the tri-county region. Other data from the Colorado State Demography Office, the Colorado Department of Revenue, the United States Census Bureau, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Colorado Tourism Office and the Colorado Aeronautics Division was used in the report.
"I think this is data is valuable to a lot of people in the community,” Montrose Mayor Roy Anderson said.
Residents of Ouray and San Miguel counties are estimated to have spent $123 million in Montrose County in selected retail and service sectors in 2017. This spending, the report estimates, has directly or indirectly supported 920 local jobs and accounted for $29.6 million in labor income in Montrose County. The report finds 69-percent of these impacts are attributed to tourism.
The report also concluded that an overwhelmingly large number of residents in the three-county region shop in Montrose for everyday goods and services. Grocery and packaged liquor sales made up for the majority of these purchases within the city of Montrose. Hardware, building supplies, fuel, and medical and dental services were also the most sought-after services, according to the report.
“Montrose serves as the hub of commerce for the general region,” said David Becher, Director of Research at RRC Associates.
The city did not invest in the CFA program last year. This year, city administrators are analyzing data from the report to see if an investment can be made in 2019.
“This (report) is an amazing tool for us to put out to the naysayers who don’t want us to support CFA," Councilor Judy Ann Files said.
The report also concluded that the growth of MTJ and CFA "enplanements," or the number of people boarding planes bound for Montrose, has steadily risen since 2012.
Another notable figure; from 1996 to 2017 travel spending for overnight visitors in Montrose has grown from just over $50 million in 1996 to $135.9 million in 2017.
A final report will be delivered in the coming weeks.
For more City news visit: CityOfMontrose.org.