GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) The Colorado airport system is one of the state's biggest businesses, but CDOT's 2013 "Colorado Economic Impact Study" shows a stark decline in airport employment across the state.
It's no different at Grand Junction Regional Airport, where payroll and economic activity have both seen decline as well since the last report was gathered in 2008.
"The cost of fuel increasing substantially here has really impacted the airlines and general aviation, which in turn directly impacts business and leisure travel," said Amy Jordan, Deputy Director of Administration for Grand Junction Regional Airport.
The high cost of fuel has caused airlines to increase their prices, meaning many travelers aren't traveling as far, or even at all anymore.
Since tourism is one of the largest sectors in Mesa County, especially in late summer/early fall for bikers, economic result of travel is an important trend to watch.
City lodging tax is a strong indicator of tourism, and is down about 25% month-to-month from 2008.
"We know how important tourism is to the Grand Junction economy, being one of the top industries here, so that confidence to travel and having discretionary money is down," said Mistalynn Meyeraan of the Grand Junction Visitors & Convention Bureau.
Meyeraan did have good news however: last years' numbers were a slight uptick from the previous steady economic decline, and they project encouraging numbers for 2014.