Reports Show Cannabis Tourism Industry Valued at $17 Billion

The cannabis-related tourism industry is valued at $17 billion and could begin to grow rapidly post-COVID. A report presented in Forbes claims that 50% of millennials think access to adult cannabis is important when planning a trip, and that 43% of millennials specifically choose a destination because of legalization.

According to Victor Pinho, co-founder of Emerald Farm Tours, cannabis tourism has a lot of potential. “They’re tourists and they’re shopping. They’re here to spend money in the mecca of weed,” he told Forbes of his Northern California-based business. . He also estimated that tour participants sometimes spent $300 to $400 when visiting dispensaries, which is far more than the average adult consumer.

In 2016, MMGY Travel Intelligence reported that “the net impact on consumers’ decision to travel to states where cannabis use is legalized was minimal.” However, a 2020 MMGY study said 18% of American travelers were interested in cannabis experiences while traveling. When the survey data was reduced to include only those over the age of 21 with an annual income of $50,000, the percentage of those interested in cannabis-related experiences while on vacation rose. at 62%.

Forbes estimates that $4.5 billion of the $25 billion collected in cannabis sales revenue in 2021 was related to cannabis-related tourism and related purchases such as hotels, food, local attractions, etc.

With nearly 20 states that have legalized adult use, opportunities for cannabis tourism are increasing. States like Colorado, which was the first state to legalize recreational drinking in 2014, have a strong reputation for adult drinking that doesn’t require marketing. The Colorado Office of Tourism offers only a few tips on safety and consumption, and does not currently have any specific data regarding cannabis-related tourism. “Cannabis is not a major driver of tourism in our state, compared to categories like outdoor recreation,” the office said. Forbes.

In other states, the new image of cannabis tourists is beginning to form. According to a report by the Cannabis Travel Association International, the gender distribution of consumers is fairly balanced between those who identify as male or female, 63% of tourists are millennials or younger, 59% have a college degree and 82% have a job. with an annual household income of $87,000.

Brian Applegarth, founder of the Cannabis Travel Association International, believes that the number of aging millennials is contributing to increased interest in cannabis tourism. “By 2025, 50% of travelers to the United States will be millennials,” Applegarth said. “And their relationship to cannabis use is extremely normalized compared to today’s stigmatized industry leaders.”

Overall, many states are beginning to bolster and publicize their cannabis offerings to replace funds lost due to reduced travel during the height of the pandemic. Visit Modesto CEO Todd Aaronson treats cannabis travelers like any other tourist. In 2021, Aaronson partnered with Applegarth to create the MoTown CannaPass which helps visitors explore local cannabis food, entertainment and dispensaries. “We wanted the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, if cannabis is your thing, and you’re here, we have retail stores that are legal. And we have experiences that you can’t enjoy any differently than going to a brewery or a wine bar,” Aaronson said. “They are all equally regulated. You should have a designated driver for each. Every visitor is welcome. Leave your money here. He also shared that there was a noticeable 11% increase in traffic to local dispensaries when the CannaPass went live.

As places like Amsterdam seek to discourage cannabis-related tourism, North America is emerging as a top legal tourist destination. Attractions like historic cannabis tours, various Airbnb or Bed and Breakfast locations, fascinating museums, and countless adult dispensaries to explore, there’s a lot of potential to look forward to. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont even recently announced the numerous offers of his statewhich includes a country song that talks about everything from online gambling to cannabis use.

About Bobby F. Lopez

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