Weed tourism officially takes off at $17 billion

The United States has a robust tourism economy worth around $1.2 trillion, but which sites or cities make up the biggest pieces of that pie? Who attracts the most national and international travelers? For reference, the National Park Service boasted that its 423 sites contributed $28.6 billion to the economy in 2020, thanks to visitor spending (and that was during the COVID downturn; typically it’s more ).

Now, one would assume that due to its relative newness as a tourism entity, cannabis, on the other hand, could fetch exponentially less than our national parks. But this assumption would be wrong. According to a new report from Forbes, cannabis tourism is a rapidly growing industry. In fact, according to their estimate, it is currently a $17 billion industry, nearly 60% of that of national parks. This speaks to the fact that the dawn of weed tourism is upon us and, as Forbes‘s report Will Yakowicz and Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, there is plenty of room to grow.

The early success isn’t surprising when you look at the statistics: 62% of pot smokers over the age of 21 and with an annual household income above $50,000 would be interested in cannabis-centric experiences while traveling, according to a study by MMGY Travel Intelligence cited. by Forbes. Additionally, according to a Harris poll, 50% of all Millennials said access to legal recreational cannabis was important when choosing a vacation destination, and 43% said they have already chosen destinations because cannabis is there. was legal.

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

Of course, that’s not to say that $17 billion of those tourism dollars came directly from cannabis sales — that’s not how it works. Of the $25 billion in legal cannabis sales in 2021, only $4.5 billion came from tourists, but by a Forbes By one estimate, those same tourists also funneled $12.6 billion to restaurants, hotels and other attractions. The idea is that cannabis-centric businesses aren’t the only ones benefiting from increased tourist interest – revenue is revenue.

For the uninitiated, recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states, as well as Washington, DC, and medical use is permitted in over 35 states, with Colorado being the first to establish a recreational marijuana market, following the adoption of a ballot initiative in 2012. Fast forward to 2018, and a study conducted in the Destination Marketing and Management Journal showed that the perception of marijuana had changed and Colorado residents had become increasingly supportive of cannabis tourism as the ways in which they personally benefited from it began to emerge.

“Dog lovers are canna consumers. Foodies are canna consumers,” said Todd Aaronson, CEO of Visit Modesto in California, another booming hub of cannabis tourism. “There is no difference between a cannabis traveler and all other travellers.”

About Bobby F. Lopez

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