Thursday evening, more than 280 CVB partners, leaders and colleagues filled Hotel Eleganté Conference and Event Center’s Summit Ballroom to celebrate a bountiful harvest for the 2016 tourism season.

The CVB extends a sincere thank you to everyone who attended and sampled local craft beverages, enjoyed guitarist Ben Bubeck and feasted on a delicious meal. Those in attendance heard remarks from Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, CVB Board Chair Andy Neinas and CVB President & CEO Doug Price. Three industry members were recognized for leadership, customer service and community involvement.

Suthers recapped the successes of 2016 in Olympic City USA. He reminded us that, even after a tremendous year for tourism, we cannot rest on our laurels, and must continue to entice visitation. He encouraged everyone to get involved with the new PlanCOS initiative by taking this survey. PlanCOS is a 2-year process, at the end of which the city will have a citizen-created vision and clear path for the future of Colorado Springs.

Neinas reiterated the banner year the region has had and cited the results of the recently released Longwoods Study. With a total of 20.5 million overnight and day visitors in 2015, 2016 is on pace to exceed those figures.

Price discussed the proven return on tourism promotion funding and the need for additional dollars to optimize awareness of the region. “As we lay the groundwork for the increase to the Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax in a few years, we are reviewing the CVB partner structure to develop increased dues that are equitable to all of our partners. We plan to restructure these dues over the course of five years. Our goal is for everyone to have a proportional investment in our ongoing success. We are committed to keeping Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region at the forefront of leisure and group travel so that we all can thrive.” He also showed that, with increased funding, tourism master planning is necessary to guide additional marketing efforts. A tourism master plan is a long-term (10-20 year) strategic plan to develop the region’s tourism industry and drive economic impact for the benefit of the community.

Lastly, Mark your calendar and join your fellow CVB colleagues for the December 8th Motherlode Mixer & Treasure Hunt at the Western Museum of Mining & Industry.