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DENVER-Hotel operators in the Denver area and statewide booked their worst June since 1990, according to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report. The report, by Robert E. Benton & Associates Inc. of Denver, shows overall occupancy rate in the Denver area was 72.8% in June, compared with 76.3% in June 2001.

Outside of Denver, the overall occupancy rate was 69.3% compared to 71.8% in June 2001.

National publicity about the raging fires in Colorado—now mostly contained–hit the leisure tourist market, which had been quite strong, Benton says.

“Without the fires, the occupancy rates would have probably been at least two points higher,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

Vail and Aspen were particularly hard-hit. The occupancy rates in those resorts were 44.6% and 57.5%, respectively, down from 59.8% and 64.6% at the same time last year.

In Denver, the Downtown market remained strong at a 79.2% occupancy rate, but it was still down from the 81.7% in June 2001. The Stapleton corridor, across the street from the redevelopment of the former international airport, was especially hit hard by the sluggish economy. The Stapleton submarket posted only a 66.5% occupancy rate, compared with 80.4% in June 2001.

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