Summer tourist season kicks off, but local attractions continue to deal with labor shortage

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Posted at 7:43 PM, Jun 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-07 21:46:30-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs attractions are continuing to deal with the pandemic-fueled labor shortage as summer tourist season kicks off.

The shortage prompting popular spots such as Santa's Workshop North Pole to cut go from seven days a week to five days and offer incentives to find more workers.

The amusement park opened right after Memorial Day, and it's been non-stop busy for the staff.

"Everyone is smiling and having a great time," said Theresa Desimone.

Large crowds packed the attraction which is a tradition for many families.

"My brother and I would come here when we were kids," said Kelly Campbell.

"Everyone has to bring their little ones here," said Desimone.

Tom Haggard, Owner of Santa's Workshop North Pole, says it's been a tough year for his park but he's happy to see so many returning.

"We've encountered large crowds every day we've been open. Much larger than 2019 which is the year we're comparing it to. We're not even comparing anything to 2020. In order to get an accurate picture of how this summer is going, we're going back to a normal year 2019," said Haggard.

He says the summer is already looking to be a great season.

"They weren't out last year. They're tired and they want to get out, and they told themselves once things got better they would get out. We have a lot of returning people that couldn't come last year," said Haggard.

His goals were to open 20 rides, all food areas, and the magic show. Major milestones overshadowed by the labor shortage continuing to impact industries across the state.

"We can't be open seven days a week which we would be typically this time of year. To do it, we would have to stress the staff so much," said Haggard.

To help ease the shortage, Haggard's started offering referral incentives to his current workers. While other places have also raised pay, he won't be following suit.

"You know you'd have to pay way so much that your prices would have to go sky high to do it. I don't believe that is the barrier, people want the kind of job that they want, they want the kind of hours that they want," said Haggard.

He says there is more to the shortage than just low pay and high unemployment checks. After 65 years, he's confident they'll be able to make i through the latest challenge.

"We opened on time, we're going to close on time which is Christmas Eve. We're having a great summer and the park is healthy," said Haggard.

Families just excited to continue going to their favorite attraction.

"It's a beautiful place and I don't know of another place like it," said Desimone.

Haggard says he is looking for 20 to 30 workers to get to at least 100 to be able to operate fully. For those interested in applying for one of their positions visit their website or call (719) 684-9432.