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Peter Yesawich gives Denver tourism a qualified yes

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Peter Yesawich, one of the country's top travel experts, stopped off in Denver yesterday long enough to offer a six-month forecast to a gathering of Visit Denver members. The bad news? Only 35 percent of the people recently polled on "dream destinations" -- places in the United States they've never been to and would like to visit in the next two years -- listed Denver. The good news? That means 35 percent of the people who'll be traveling in the next two years would like to visit Denver.

(Even better news: Denver ranks as high as Miami.)

But it won't be easy to lure those travelers here -- despite the existence of Denver International Airport, a facility that Yesawich clearly appreciates, and a convention center that moved the city into the "major leagues," he says.

That's because after the last two years of economic gloom, "value is in vogue," he notes, and travelers are taking advantage of all the deals out there, doing lots of online comparison shopping and looking for e-mail deals. The trend is so strong that 3 out of 10 travelers report booking vacation trips at the last minute when they found a bargain.

That was just one of the tantalizing facts Yesawich dropped as he offered a quick trip through how technology has changed the travel scene (and also added an our to our workday, just to handle e-mail).

Still, for all the ease of putting info out there, would-be travelers are doing their own comparison shopping -- and making their own decison. "As it has become easier to reach people," Yesawich cautions, "it has become more difficult to influence them."

But Yesawich, the chairman of Ypartnership, clearly has no problem influencing people -- and he'll address Visit Denver's board today at a convention bureau retreat.

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