Garden of the Gods

Last year’s visitor spending numbers surpassed 2016 by 7 percent, according to a news release issued by the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, which said overnight visitors to the region spent $1.6 billion in 2017.

The release states travelers who visited for the day spent $688 million for a total spend of $2.3 billion, up 3 percent over 2016. According to the annual visitor profile study from tourism research company Longwoods International, the region welcomed 23 million people, 13 million on day trips and 10 million who stayed at least one night last year. A total of $6.3 million per day is infused into the Pikes Peak region’s economy by non-residents.

The release said, while the total visitor numbers remained essentially flat, spending increased in the overnight category.

“Two main goals of our Destination Master Plan are to increase the length of stay and total visitor spend. With higher demand for our area’s attractions and natural landmarks, increasing the length of trip and amount of money infused into our destination is the best way to maximize economic impact in a sustainable and responsible way,” CVB President and CEO Doug Price said in the release. “The Destination Master Plan is a long-term roadmap on how to improve the visitor experience for Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region, thereby generating economic benefits for the destination.

Other key findings from the Longwoods International Colorado Springs annual visitor profile study include:

  • Almost eight in 10 overnight visitors used a smartphone during their stay for travel/activity planning purposes.
  • Overnight visitors to the Pikes Peak region spent an average of 2.8 nights in the region, up slightly from 2.6 nights in 2016.
  • The average travel party size in 2017 was 3 people, a slightly larger party than the national average of 2.8 people.
  • About six in 10 overnight Pikes Peak region travelers arrived by personal vehicle, while most of the remainder flew into DIA or COS.
  • In 2017, the five most popular activities and experiences on an overnight trip to the region were shopping, visiting a national or state park, hiking/backpacking, visiting a landmark/historic site and fine dining.
  • About one-third of overnight visitors indicate that historic places were of specific interest on their trip, while one in four said their trip was focused on cultural attractions and experiences.

CVB Chief Innovation Office Amy Long said knowing how visitors are inspired and what they like to do in the region is an important component to craft the organization’s marketing messages.

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“This detailed profile guides our advertising strategy, annual media mix, timing and creative development,” she said in the release. “We are positioning Colorado Springs as Olympic City USA, a year-round inspirational destination for families, outdoor enthusiasts, arts and culture travelers and those who plan meetings and events. Based on the goals of our Destination Master Plan, we are working on tactics to attract visitors from farther away who will stay longer and spend more.”

Through April of this year, the Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax collected by the city is up 4.09 percent over 2017.