Gasoline prices are rising, and Americans are driving less.

That could add up to an ominous forecast for the local tourism industry, but Doug Price, CEO of the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, isn’t worried, despite the fact that Colorado Springs is an 80-percent drive-destination market.

He expects that visitors will still come to the city, as usual, because most Americans are willing to drive about five hours to go on vacation.

“That five-hour circle might tighten a bit, but the cost of gas is a small portion of the overall (vacation) budget,” Price said. “And it’s still cheaper than flying.

American Airlines, for instance, has raised the price of domestic round-trip airfare seven times this year, already, according to By way of comparison, most domestic airlines raised fares four times last year and three times in 2009.

Which bodes well for local tourism.

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“Unless gas prices go north of $5 (per gallon), we’re not going to see a downturn in leisure travel (in the Pikes Peak region). One of our biggest markets is Denver – people won’t stop driving from Denver,” Price said.


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