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Businesses still recovering from summer fires, floods as slower tourism season looms

By Rachael Plath, Meteorologist, r.plath@krdo.com
Published On: Nov 14 2013 06:55:09 AM CST

Tourism this summer was heavily impacted by natural disasters in Colorado. With the peak season for tourists winding down, businesses and local visitor’s bureau are going to great lengths to ensure economic sustenance.

Summer is the busiest season for tourism, according to the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau,.  This summer, the Black Forest fire followed by massive flooding  not only impacted the extent of the tourism to the region, it significantly reduced the revenues brought in by many local businesses in the Pikes Peak Region.

Coquette’s Bistro and Bakery on Manitou Avenue described the summer as devastating.

“It was definitely rough on business.  It was hard to keep everybody employed,” said owner Michelle Marx.

Heading into winter, a season with generally less tourist traffic, Marx is taking action to ensure her shop remains in business.

She is opening a second location in downtown Colorado Springs on Friday.  Located at 104 North Tejon St., this second location will only be open through December.  Marx hopes it will give her the opportunity to promote her Manitou Springs location.

“I would love to see people know that it’s still a very beautiful community.  Stores are completely open and ready for business.  It’s always been a little bit of a jewel, and that hasn’t changed,” she said.

The Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau said tourism this summer was up from 2012, based upon the nearly $20,000 increase in the Lodger’s and Automobile Rental Tax. 

Chelsy Murphy, communications director with the CVB, said her team is working hard to promote Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region as a year-round destination. 

“We’re always doing online and paper-click advertising.  We attend about 40 trade shows annually,” said Murphy. 

This year, the CVB promoted the area by showcasing its natural beauty and scenery. 

“We have more than 55 attractions and activities, so whether it’s outdoor or indoor, there’s something that everyone can enjoy,” she said.

Murphy said the bureau is expecting tourism and attention on the area will increase with the upcoming Olympics and the designation of Colorado Springs as one of the stops for the pro-cycling challenge.

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