One of the world’s foremost travel authorities is preparing for a Green Rush of marijuana tourism.
Arthur Frommer has been writing about travel since the ’50s, and his name has become synonymous with international travel and tourism as his Frommer’s travel guides and Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel magazine have guided tourists through locales as exotic as Iceland and Peru.
In a new column on Frommers.com, 87-year-old Frommer looks ahead to the November election — when nine states will vote on recreational and medical cannabis laws — and predicts that we’re about to see a “large new industry of marijuana tourism.”
“The prospects seem strong that marijuana is now about to be added to beer and wine as a permissible product to order,” Frommer writes. “This seems about to happen. Get ready for the era of marijuana — and marijuana tourism.”
Sure enough, some of Frommer’s competitors are already on board — as at least two travel guide book publishers, Moon and Fodor’s, have already included marijuana tourism listings in their latest Colorado editions.
Frommer’s article — Five More States Are About to Consider the Legalization of Marijuana, Creating the Basis for a Large New Industry of Marijuana Tourism — points out that marijuana tourism is already happening. It also references state tourism boards’ precarious relationship with the cannabis-centered tourism already heading their way.
“Why haven’t you heard from the tourist boards of Colorado, Oregon and Washington about the lure of marijuana?” Frommer asks. “It’s because they’re concerned about the propriety of attracting out-of-state visitors in that manner; on a federal basis, marijuana use is still illegal elsewhere in America. And thus, the states thus far permitting the drug are acting as if they are limiting its use to persons within their borders. Presumably, that hesitation will come to an end if several more states use the November 8 referendums to greatly expand marijuana’s use.”
In Denver’s most recent tourism numbers, the 16.4 million overnight visitors who spent $5 billion in 2015 set a tourism record for the 10th year in a row — but officials said they have “no data showing how the booming marijuana tourism economy in Colorado impacted the city’s recent growth in tourism.”
In Colorado’s most recent tourism numbers, legal cannabis is seen as a growing motivator for trips to Colorado as 8 percent of the Colorado tourists who responded to the survey said they visited a marijuana dispensary. As we reported in December 2015: “While the state’s ‘Come to Life’ ad campaign is certainly successful, surveys in October and November of potential summertime visitors who were exposed to the state’s tourism ads revealed that the marijuana laws influenced vacation decisions nearly 49 percent of the time.”
Travel guru Frommer is clearly passionate about what he’s seeing as a bonafide new tourism sector: “We are on the brink of a major new travel movement.
“With as many as nine or 10 U.S. states or areas — the original several and the new five — permitting the once-forbidden use, we will undoubtedly witness a large, nationwide-marketing campaign, urging Americans to visit those states for the purpose of ‘relaxing.’ Arguments will be made that marijuana is no more addictive than beer or liquor; that it is as harmless as a standard cocktail; that it serves various other beneficial purposes as well. And tourism will undoubtedly be aided by the attraction of that new reason for traveling.”