shutterstock_158588264Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region saw a record-setting year or tourism in 2015, according to a recently published report by Longwoods International.

A total of 20.5 million people visited the region last year — 43 percent taking overnight trips and 57 percent taking day trips — and invested $1.976 billion ($62 per second) into the local economy, according to the report.

For Colorado Springs specifically, the number of overnight trips increased by 7 percent over 2014, while the number of day trips increased by 18 percent, according to a Nov. 1 news release from the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau.

“These upwards trends are consistent with state trends that also show strong upticks in travel,” CVB President and CEO Doug Price said in the release. “Colorado had a record year in 2015, and we’ve certainly seen a substantial slice of this.”

The study, which the CVB purchased from Longwoods International, also found that:

  • overnight travel to Colorado Springs has increased 25 percent since 2011, outpacing the national growth average of 11 percent;
  • overnight trip spending increased 3 percent over 2014;
  • the most popular reason for traveling to the region was to visit friends and family;
  • most visitors from outside the state came from California, Texas, New York, Illinois, Florida, New Mexico and Kansas;
  • the average length of trips was five night, compared to he national average of four nights;
  • the average travel party size was three people;
  • the most popular time to visit was July through September;
  • more than half of overnight visitors indicated they have visited Colorado Springs before;
  • nearly 75 percent of visitors used a smartphone for travel planning; and
  • the most popular activities included shopping, visiting a state park or historic landmark, hiking, dining and visiting museums.

“We will continue to invest in research to learn how visitors are getting inspired, planning and executing their trip to the region,” CVB Chief Innovation Officer Amy Long said in the release. “The data is critical to making decisions on when, how and where we market Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. We tout the region as a destination that provides great value and unique experiences for families, outdoor enthusiasts and arts and culture travelers.”

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Longwoods should have travel data for 2016 available in June 2017, and the CVB is expecting another record-breaking year. So far this year, the city has collected 15.32 percent more funds through its Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax than it had at the same time in 2015.

“A strong economy and better airport service, combined with effective marketing campaigns and group sales efforts, have resulted in substantial growth in visitation,” Price said in the release. “In its simplest form, people come to the region, spend their money and then return home. Their spending creates jobs and saves each family of four about $350 dollars in taxes that would otherwise have to be paid by residents to maintain infrastructure repairs and city services”