EL PASO COUNTY — The current status of the pandemic and its impact on the economy is sobering. At the same time there are some positive indicators in Southern Colorado for a rebound.
"It's incredible." Pikes Peak America’s Mountain, Manger, Jack Glavan is talking about the number of visitors that passed through the gates for the month of November. "November of this year was about 25,500, last year was about 16,900. So up about 56%."
License plates show it is mostly people driving from out of state. Visitors who feel COVID safe in their car and enjoying the room to roam on Pikes Peak.
The November visits help improve the numbers for the year. Glavan feared a major hit when the pandemic hit locally back in March. “We were projecting maybe we’d be down 50%,” said Glavan. The number is down just 15% compared to last year. The number of visitors for 2020 is just over 500,000.
The numbers for Pikes Peak represent the encouraging side of a good and bad year for tourism in Southern Colorado. "There is no question that the year turned out to be better than we all thought it was going to be in early March and April,” said Visit Colorado Springs, President & CEO, Doug Price, “but, that said, it looks like the lodging and auto rental tax will be down about 45%."
The Pikes Peak numbers buffer some of the economic blow from COVID-19. Price says it also shows the area is well positioned for a tourism rebound. Interest can be tracked on the Visit Colorado Springs website. "From the 2nd quarter to the 3rd quarter this year our website traffic on that trip planner was up 93%." It is potential visitors looking for COVID-19 safe options.
Price there is added incentive in the year ahead because of new attractions. "With the new Pikes Peak Summit House and the Cog reopens next spring." More outdoor options, also spots like the new Olympic and Paralympic Museum work to make sure visitors feel comfortable with extensive COVID-19 prevention protocols.