John Hickenlooper is tourism's secret weapon in luring travel bloggers to TBEX conference

How did Colorado's "Second Largest Industry" perform in 2010? We're guessing pretty well, since that's the header regarding the latest Longwoods Report, an industry analysis of Denver and Colorado tourism. But then, this industry has a secret weapon: Governor John Hickenlooper.

Even before that detailed analysis -- outlining the number of tourists, where those tourists came from, the top tourist attractions, how 2010 compared to 2009 and 2008, and more -- is released this afternoon, the state just announced that it got another important seal of approval: Colorado will host the 2012 TBEX North America conference, the "world's largest annual gathering of travel bloggers, writers, influences and content creators," which will land in Keystone next June.

"We chose Colorado for the TBEX travel writers' conference because of its breathtaking landscape, exploding culinary scene, plentiful outdoor adventure, fresh air and a revitalized downtown Denver," says Kim Mance, founder of the TBEX events. "Social media influencers sharing real-time discoveries need fuel for the fire to inspire their readers, and the mountains of Colorado are a blazing inferno of awesome experiences."

Visit Denver, the convention and visitors bureau, helped woo TBEX to Colorado at the group's recent convention in Vancouver, where it unveiled its secret weapon, in the form of a live feed from Hickenlooper -- who revealed his own secret weapon: beer. Check out the clip below:

More from our Calhoun: Wake-Up Call archive: "Top 7 ways to improve Colorado tourism: Are you listening, Visit Denver?"

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Looks to me like the Governor has a lot of time on his hands.  He's got to be missing out on being Mayor of Denver or at least being in the headlines more than just once a month with boring bill signings in Limon, Manassa, Nucla and Swink.  He's been painfully missing from offering his opinions/quirky comments on the Mayor's race, but according to most folks, his new strategy is to lose the Denver-centric brand and become more Colorado - if for anything to kill the impression with state legislators that he's only concerned about Denver.  But for party-boy Hick, its got to be taking its means more 'family time' (ick!) and less time being the adored proclamation reader, loved by all those sophisticated urbanites.

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