GUEST COLUMN: The economic importance of travel and tourism
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Most people are likely familiar with the frequently touted positive effects of travel on our work performance and personal well-being. It is travel's economic power, though, that arguably deserves more attention - especially in Colorado Springs, Olympic City USA, and the Pikes Peak region.

This week, travel industry workers across the country are celebrating the 35th annual National Travel and Tourism Week. Travel is the third-largest employer in our area, accounting for more than 17,000 jobs. Spending by travelers in our region equates to $2.3 billion - that's $71 a second spent by travelers.

Even the roots of our community were planted as a travel destination. From his first visit surveying the land for the railroad, town founder Gen. William Jackson Palmer had a vision to create Colorado Springs as "the preeminent destination of the West." Today, that vision is being realized with recognitions of calling ourselves Olympic City USA and being named U.S. News & World Report's second-best place to live in the country.

Given these extraordinary returns, the Convention & Visitors Bureau is taking the steps to map our visitor experience with a destination master plan to be revealed in June. This 10-year plan seeks ways to grow and support travel infrastructure, growing population and visitation.

We are also in a position to boost travel's effect on our lives and the Colorado Springs economy by encouraging the American workforce to use earned time off to travel.

Travel makes a difference in our communities and lives every day - and has done so for the Pikes Peak region. To learn more, head to VisitCOS.com/TourismPays.

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Doug Price is president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau

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