Wednesday afternoon, Visit Colorado Springs held its annual business meeting at Doolittle Hall on the grounds of the United States Air Force Academy. VCOS unveiled its 2018 Annual Report citing a 7.5 percent increase in Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax collections, and a 2.45 percent increase in hotel occupancy over 2017. The day’s “excellence on the horizon” theme highlighted tourism, athletic and education initiatives for 2019 and beyond.
Speakers included new Air Force Academy Director of Athletics, Nathan Pine, Miles Partnership Travel Media Sales and Marketing Executive, Pat Attkisson, and VCOS President and CEO, Doug Price. Price noted the importance of mapping a responsible and sustainable tourism future with VCOS’ Destination Master Plan initiatives and a Leave No Trace partnership. Price also announced a new venture with the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak Community College to develop future industry leaders with a hospitality curriculum at each campus.
“As we see tourism’s trajectory grow, we also see a large industry need to identify and groom local tourism talent. We’re developing a multi-year program through two of our colleges to identify future leaders to feed the talent pipeline for the Pikes Peak region’s third largest industry, benefitting our entire community,” said Price.
Attkisson echoed the benefits of tourism, specifically through regional and Colorado Tourism Office marketing efforts citing Colorado.com as the most-visited tourism destination website in the country. Colorado’s state visitation numbers reflect excellence in another record-breaking year that contributed $20.9 billion to Colorado’s economy.
Pine reiterated the Air Force Academy’s mission to develop leaders of excellence and character, and how the mission is supported by his Division I sports programs. “Athletics are an important pillar of the leadership process. These values serve our young men and women well,” said Pine. The Air Force Academy is currently ranked 49th amongst the country’s Division I schools.
Sponsors Gray Line Tours, Ent Business Banking, RHW Hotels, Hotel Eleganté, Air Force Athletics, Association of Graduates, Miles Partnership and DocuMart all helped make the event possible.
The 2018 VCOS Annual Report can be downloaded here.