Labor Day Weekend welcomed an estimated 20,000 iron horses to the Durango area. The 2011 Four Corners Motorcycle Rally, held Sept. 1-4, and Ignacio Bike Week, held Aug. 31-Sept. 4, were headliners for destination motorcycle events throughout the Four Corners.
Riders participated in two-wheeled festivities, a parade, scenic rides, plus big-name concerts, competitions, bull riding, arm wrestling, beauty contests, cook-offs and more.
They also enjoyed dining in our restaurants, shopping our boutique stores and galleries and resting their heads in one of our hotels. In other words, we welcomed this niche tourism market to enjoy everything our area has to offer.
Before you express your personal opinion about this annual weekend of motorcycles in our serene mountain town, lets take a look at the positive economic impact and how the Durango Area Tourism Office has marketed to the motorcycle demographic.
Jeff Murray, general manager of Durango Harley-Davidson, credits the incredible rides in the area as the main attraction for motorcyclists. The Million Dollar Highway and the San Juan Skyway are on the bucket list for riders because of the incredible views, bounty of turns and great stops along the route.
Durango Harley-Davidson aggressively promotes the ride and even created a Million Dollar Highway T-shirt for riders who have earned the bragging rights been there and ridden that!
Murray said, Harley Sportsters run $8,000 to $10,000, with touring motorcycles ranging from $18,000 to $24,000. The average Harley owner has a family income in the mid-$80,000s, which is a perfect demographic for the Durango area.
The Durango Area Tourism Office actively courts motorcyclists to experience Southwest Colorado. From mid-May through mid-September, we see a substantial influx of touring riders from all over the country as well as foreign visitors on rented bikes.
In 2011, the Durango Area Tourism Office partnered with Durango Harley-Davidson, Colorado Map Co. and a host of advertisers to create and distribute Great Motorcycle Rides of the Four Corners, a guide map that showcases the greatest rides in the Southwest. The map also includes ideas and events to encourage riders to stay another day. We have added a landing page to www.durango.org with information about lodging, activities, maps and other helpful information for motorcyclists.
While you may not aspire to feel the thrill of the turns, don leather chaps or feel the surge of torque from an American V-twin motor, thank you for welcoming our visitors for this end-of-summer celebration.
email@example.com. John Cohen is the executive director of the Durango Area Tourism Office.