Ghost Town owner chairs new Visitors Bureau ‘Experience’
Harris is 11-year board member on nonprofit agency
David Harris, owner of the Ghost Town tourist attraction at 21st Street and Highway 24, was recently elected to a one-year term as chair of the Co-lorado Springs
Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors.
He has been a board member since 1995 and previously served as chair in 2002-03.
The election took place in a time of change for the 26-year-old tourism-promotion agency, signaled by the name it's now going by: “Experience Colorado Springs at Pikes Peak.”
The nonprofit entity has also made widespread bylaw changes - the most visible being the size of the board, which has been reduced from 25 members to 9 this year. “We (the board of directors) used to have an executive board that reported back to get approval,” Harris explained. “Now we (the smaller board) are doing the business of the old executive board.” He said this allows the bureau as a whole “to be more nimble.”
Unaltered is the entity's main goal, which is to lure families, groups and conventions to Colorado Springs so as to beef up the city's economy, Harris said.
The bureau's $3.5 million annual budget comes from membership (20 percent) and a portion of the city sales tax on lodging and car rentals (80 percent). The downtown office has 20 full-time and 5 part-time employees.
Bureau findings show that, when it comes to visitor popularity, Old Colorado City is “among the top five” places that people go in Colorado Springs, Harris said. And in Old Colorado City, Michael Garman's is a particular draw.
The Westside is also likely to benefit from contemporary tourist trends in favor of bed-and-breakfasts and outdoor activities, he noted.
Harris' family has owned Ghost Town - housed inside a former Midland Railroad building - since 1954. He is also vice president of Pikes Peak Attractions, which focuses on promoting tourist attractions (such as Ghost Town) in the Pikes Peak region.
Westside Pioneer article