COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Summer is the busiest time for Colorado Springs tourism with people from all over the world come to see attractions like Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak.
So it's something of an understatement to say COVID-19 has put a major dent in this current season. Already, the Colorado Springs Airport is reporting a 25 year low for travel with the virus halting most vacations. Doug PRice the CEO for Visit Colorado Springs says this is no temporary bump in the road, "There's no question there is going to be an economic impact probably for the next few years."
Price says until people are comfortable with getting on planes, staying at hotels, and being around large groups things might be in a lull for a while.
"It is going to take a little while for this to really come back to what the new norm is going to be and I really believe it's going to be an extended period of time," Price says.
Main attractions that hold more than ten people like the Olympic Museum are already closed along with eight local hotels. All these cancellations are something travel agencies in Colorado have never seen before. "Something like this hasn't truly happened on a global scale anytime during any of our lifetimes," says Aaron Jones with Travel Leaders COS. Jones and Ahmad Sher with another travel agency called American Travel Internation which is also based out of Colorado Springs say they usually have hundreds of reservations this time of year, but every single one had to be canceled.
"All the reservations that we made for people traveling in summer or for future, they all got canceled," Sher says. Jones saying they aren't taking any future bookings either for the safety of their clients, "We are actually not taking bookings for anymore during the rest of the year, in fact, we probably will not be taking bookings until well into 2021."
But some hope the cancellation of larger travel plans could turn into a slight bump later this summer. "The leisure social families that say we want to go take a trip somewhere and they are going to be able to drive here and they will be able to enjoy all the things we have to offer," Price says. From what he has seen, we can expect hiking trails to draw some tourists as restrictions loosen. After all, people right now feel safer in their cars and in open areas where they can safely keep their distance.