by Pam Zubeck
Local businesses who rely on tourism are hoping that a $100,000 federal grant will help attract new visitors this fall and next year.
Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., announced in a press release that he helped secure the grant for the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau in the wake of the Waldo Canyon Fire, which ignited June 23 and burned more than 18,000 acres and claimed 345 homes in the city on June 26.
The money, from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, will be used to advertise the region as a destination for travelers and business meetings and draft a strategic plan for 2013, says Amy Long, VP of marketing at the CVB, in a news release.
“We are very pleased to have been awarded this grant from the EDA to market Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region to leisure travelers, meeting planners and event organizers. It was a true team effort, from the introduction to the EDA by Senator Bennet’s staff, to the many community letters of support, to the donations to assist with reaching our grant match. These incremental funds in addition to our base budget are critical to communicating to the world that Colorado Springs and the entire Pikes Peak region is open for business and open for fun.“
Specifically, the grant will aid the development and implementation of a business recovery strategic plan to promote tourism in Colorado Springs. The Waldo Canyon fire struck the area during the height of the 2012 summer season, significantly lowering hotel and tourism revenues. This campaign will help local tourism-related businesses recover by driving additional travel to the region during the fall travel season and by setting the foundation of the Convention and Visitor Bureau’s 2013 marketing campaign.