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Apr 2, 2013 8:11 PM by Zach Thaxton

Tourism leaders brace for first summer after Waldo Canyon Fire

Pikes Peak Region tourism leaders are bracing for the first summer tourism season since the Waldo Canyon Fire devastated parts of Colorado Springs and the Ute Pass Corridor last June.  Video and photos of the fire and its effects were viewed by millions of people nationally and internationally, giving many the perception that Colorado Springs itself and the Pikes Peak Region by association had burned down.

"It didn't burn down," said Ryan Cole, Executive Director of Pikes Peak County Attractions.  "We just really need to tell that story a little better."  Cole says his organization, which promotes more than two dozen Pikes Peak Region attractions, needs to show the world that the attractions are still standing -- in near real-time.  That means utilizing social media rather than traditional media such as TV or radio advertisements and billboards.  "It's a little bit less expensive for us and the trackability is incredible," Cole said, "for us to be able to say, 'This person came from this area of the country.'"

Chelsy Murphy, spokesperson for the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau, says her agency spent $200,000 after the fire to showcase Colorado Springs as being beautiful and open, but says near real-time sharing of tourists' photos is invaluable.  "We're really great about partnering with people and asking them to go take live photos and there are apps that time-and-date stamp things, so really to say, 'We're not just saying this, we want to show you,'" Murphy said.

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