tourism, visitors, Colorado

While the total number of people staying overnight in the Pikes Peak region last year remained essentially flat, spending increased significantly — up 7 percent from 2017.

The Pikes Peak region welcomed 23 million people in 2018, with 45 percent staying at least one night, according to the annual visitor profile study from Longwoods International.

Overnight visitors to Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region spent a total of $1.7 billion in 2018, a 7 percent increase from the previous year. Day travelers spent $665 million for a total of $2.4 billion, compared to $2.3 billion in 2017.

A total of $6.6 million is infused into the Pikes Peak region’s economy each day by non-residents, according to the study.

For the first time, marketable trips to overnight visitors — the kind where people are not limited in where they travel — outpaced the “Visiting Friends & Relatives” category, with 4.8 million and 4 million visitors respectively, according to the release.

“Two key goals of our long-term Destination Master Plan road map are to increase the length of stay and total visitor spend,” VCOS President and CEO Doug Price said in the release. “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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“With higher demand for our area’s attractions and natural landmarks, the best way to maximize economic impact in a sustainable and responsible way is to increase the length of trip and the amount of money visitors are infusing into our destination.”