This summer turned out to be a success for tourism in Colorado Springs, even meeting or exceeding several key 2019 figures.
2019 was a record year for the region, and 2020 was primed to be even better until the pandemic hit. While expectations were hopeful for what 2021 recovery would bring, the industry rose above.
Notable successes included the traffic at the Colorado Springs Airport and local hotel occupancy rates. The Colorado Springs Airport reported a 30.4% increase in the number of enplaned passengers in July 2021 compared to July 2019. In July, the hotel occupancy rate was up almost 40% compared to the rate in June 2020, according to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report. At 85% in June and July 2021, numbers nearly reached summer 2019 numbers of 86.7% in June and 88% in July. Travel research firm STR ranked Colorado Springs as the third highest hotel occupancy rate in the nation in July at 84.4% – ranking only behind the Florida Keys and Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area.
“Tourism is a shared community value,” said Doug Price, President & CEO of Visit Colorado Springs. “Its resiliency has helped our entire region recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.”
The Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax (LART) numbers that have been released to-date show similar summer findings that indicate 2021 was just as if not more successful than 2019. Key contributors to visitation to the region this summer included:
- The addition of Southwest Airlines to the Colorado Springs Airport
- The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics and corresponding events in Olympic City USA, specifically at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum
- The opening of new downtown stadium Weidner Field
- The reopening of The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway
- The opening of the brand-new Summit Visitor Center atop Pikes Peak
- The return of meetings and events like the Space Symposium
“Our region’s incredible outdoor recreation, attractions and events drew a vast number of visitors to the region, along with the combined marketing efforts of many organizations,” said Price.
Meeting and event planners are remaining cautious heading into the fall and winter with the current COVID-19 Delta variant bringing some restrictions back in place. However, the tourism industry still expects a strong leisure traveler turn out in the coming seasons with visitors taking advantage of the plentiful outdoor activities and iconic attractions open year-round.
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