Tag Archives: sherry henry

climate denialism

Arizona’s hospitality industry embraces global market

Arizona has the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and Sedona, but to promote these natural wonders to international travelers is no walk in the park.

To showcase Arizona around the globe, it takes detailed research, strategic planning, effective branding and marketing, a global network of industry professionals — and the power to erase any lingering negativity associated with the state.

Despite several years of bad publicity surrounding controversial immigration policies and other proposed legislation that darkened the state’s reputation, Arizona is experiencing an increase in tourism.

“We definitely try and share with everyone we come into contact with that we are a more progressive community than the state is known as being,” says Joanne Hudson, public relations specialist for the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Certain markets, especially the Mexico visitor, have been negatively affected the last few years from the state laws and policies that have come out,” Hudson says. “We share that we are a very welcoming and open community and try to get them here to experience it. Once they get here, they really do sense and feel that. They realize it isn’t what they see and hear in the news.”

Rachel Pearson, vice president of community and government affairs at the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, says, “We are traveling around the world connecting with customers and clients, trying to reinforce who we are as a destination, who we are as a state and ensuring that people understand that we are a very welcoming destination. We offer some unique, rich experiences that you can’t have anywhere else.”

Beyond the state’s scenic beauty, Arizona’s diversity, especially the Native American and Hispanic cultural influences, appeals to international travelers, explains Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.

The rich multi-cultural experiences and gorgeous scenery, combined with outdoor activities, vibrant cities, fine dining and shopping, attracts millions of visitors and brings in billions of dollars.

Industry leaders are looking toward the future with optimism as they strategize how to attract even more world travelers.

“Arizona Office of Tourism has been active in the international market for years starting with Mexico and Canada, and overseas with partners in the United Kingdom, Germany and France,” Henry says, “and just three years ago we launched into emerging markets of China and Brazil.”

MEXICAN INFLUENCE

Currently, Mexico tops the charts for international travel into Arizona. At the height of the controversy surrounding Arizona’s immigration policies, the influx of Mexican travelers decreased. But statistics from 2013 show a rebound with a total number of Mexican visitors to Arizona at more than 3.6 million. Other countries that rank high on the list are Canada, Germany, United Kingdom and France with 1.1 million visitors collectively. Total international travelers in 2013 reached roughly 5.3 million.

The Arizona tourism industry has been proactive in reaching out south of the border and developing programs to promote and facilitate travel in Arizona.

Jessica Stephens, director of public relations at Visit Tucson, says travelers from Mexico bring in close to $1 billion a year in southern Arizona alone. Visit Tucson has two visitors centers in Mexico that help with hotel reservations and other concierge services. They also help expedite border crossings with a program developed with customs and border patrol that allows pre-approved travelers to obtain a fast pass. This makes traveling to Arizona a 12-minute trip instead of waiting in a car for hours.

Other Arizona cities and convention and visitors bureaus have pooled resources to fund trade offices in Mexico. Today, Henry says, the discussions no longer reflect the challenges of the past, but instead focus on the future. “It’s all about how we can be better partners and how can we develop that area that has such great potential.”

FOCUS ON CHINA

Arizona is now setting sights on China, the number one traveling country in the world. Henry explains that there is so much potential for growth in the emerging markets of China and Brazil, which is also topping the international travel charts. She pointed to a partnership with Brand USA, the marketing arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce designed to develop travel interest in the United States, as essential to increasing global awareness.

“We think Arizona has such appeal,” Henry says. “International journalists are amazed at what they see when they are here, and they bring the stories back to their countries.”

Barry Nakano, director of business development with PacRim Marketing Group and a board member of the Hospitality, Sales and Marketing Association International Arizona Chapter, knows the Asian markets. He recognizes the potential of the China market and points out that other Asian markets also impact our economy. According to the Arizona Office of Tourism statistics, Japan and the Republic of Korea brought in more visitors than China in 2013.

“There’s definitely a lot of interest today in the China market and understandably so. Their 1.3 billion population presents enormous potential and the recent decision by the U.S. government to extend Visa validity for visitors from China should accelerate the growth of that market. We shouldn’t overlook however, that Japan is still the second largest overseas feeder market to the U.S., and South Korea and Taiwan markets continue to grow. Japanese, in particular, have been traveling overseas a long time so tend to be more independent and willing to explore new destinations.”

INDUSTRY PREPARES

Nakano offers practical advice for those in the hospitality industry as they prepare for the influx of international travelers.

“The most efficient and cost effective way to reach Asian travelers is online and providing information in the language of the traveler is important,” he says, adding that websites should be an essential part of any marketing toolkit. “When creating an international language website, make sure the content is developed by professionals, not by translation software that has difficulty conveying intangibles we promote in travel like experience and atmosphere.

“For hotels, it’s also important the online booking engine is in the target language to make it easy for travelers to complete reservations, which is the ultimate goal.”

One thing to note when targeting travelers from China is their spoken language is Mandarin and their written language is called Simplified Chinese so any written information should be in that form.

He continued to offer tips for hotels. “To attract Asian travelers, it’s important to show cultural sensitivity and make them feel welcome. Including small touches in guest rooms like slippers and Chinese tea, along with coffee, will be appreciated and can go a long way. Offering other amenities like Asian-language TV channels, newspapers, area maps and dining menus will make guests feel comfortable after they arrive and can also be used as selling points to show you care.

Henry is already seeing changes at the Office of Tourism and in the state. “We’re finding that Arizona is becoming more globally aware. On our staff we have staff members who speak Spanish, Mandarin, and Portuguese for the folks coming in from Brazil. We are in a global environment now. The whole world has changed and everybody is beginning to think globally.”

Michelle Oden-Huebner, CMP, president of Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International Arizona Chapter, says the hospitality industry has always been one that supports diversity and inclusion.

As Arizona increases its global visibility, it needs to continue to show that the state is inclusive and promotes diversity in the workplace and marketplace, Oden-Huebner says.

“Tourism is one of the largest export industries in the State of Arizona, providing funding for education and vital services in local communities,” she says.  “This makes Arizona more attractive for new businesses to relocate to the area, thus creating more job opportunities.  The more business we bring into our state, the more money we have to support the greater community improving and increasing services for residents in Arizona.”

153003077

Arizona Office of Tourism launches travel app

Thanks to the release of a new app, people seeking information on Arizona’s travel industry can now access data quickly and easily on their smart phone or iPad. The Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) is the first state travel office in the United States to launch an app of this kind – one that provides quality, reliable mobile data on the impact of Arizona’s tourism industry on the state’s economy and its residents.

Arizona Travel Impacts, the new mobile version of AOT’s annually published “Arizona Travel Impacts” report, breaks down visitor spending, jobs, direct earnings, and tax receipts generated by the travel industry by state, region, county, and legislative district. The free app includes historical data dating back to 1998 and is available for download on iPhone, iPad and Android devices at tourism.az.gov/research-statistics/economic-impact via Apple’s App Store and Google Play. The data is updated annually.

“Communicating the importance of the travel industry on our state’s economy is critical for us,” said Sherry Henry, director of AOT. “We are thrilled to be at the forefront of providing important and interesting tourism and travel data to stakeholders in an innovative and accessible way through this app.”

After downloading the Arizona Travel Impacts app, users can easily access information by clicking on the map to identify a particular county or other geographic area, and then selecting their desired data category from drop-down menus along the top of the screen. All information is presented in clear, colorful graphs and maps, and more detail is available by tapping the screen to select a given year. In just seconds, a user can learn the number of retail jobs generated in Coconino County in 2008 (1,090 jobs) or the statewide spending in campgrounds in 1998 (more than $380 million).

Arizona Travel Impacts screen shotThe impact of tourism to the Grand Canyon State is quite significant. Arizona’s warm weather and exceptional beauty help make tourism one of the state’s top export industries. In 2013, 33.8 million people visited Arizona, and those visitors collectively spent $19.8 billion in the state. The money spent by visitors supports jobs and generates tax revenue, saving every Arizona household $1,100 each year in taxes.

The Arizona Travel Impacts app data is valuable to AOT’s constituents, including members of the media, legislators, tourism partners, destination marketing organizations, statewide economic representatives, businesses and community leaders along with municipal and state officials. AOT created the app in partnership with Dean Runyan Associates, Inc., a market research firm based in Portland, Ore., that has assisted the organization with reliable travel research since 2004.

 

HSMAI - Tourism

Female leaders rise up in Arizona tourism industry

It might surprise people to know that tourism generates more money for Arizona than aerospace, agriculture, microelectronics and mining.

And leading that $20-billion-a-year economic juggernaut are a bunch of women.

Debbie Johnson is president and CEO of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association, Sherry Henry is executive director of the Arizona Office of Tourism and Jay Parry is CEO of the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee. In addition, women lead three of the state most important and influential convention and visitors bureaus — Rachel Sacco in Scottsdale, Heidi Hansen in Flagstaff and Lorraine Pino in Glendale. On top of that, Cristin Barr of the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain is president of the Arizona Sunbelt Chapter of Meeting Professionals International; and Lynn Casebere, director of Catering at The Clubhouse at Tonto Verde, is president of the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International Arizona Chapter.

“HSMAI’s leaders have broken though the glass ceiling,” Casebere says. “There are 30 chapters in the Americas Region and 24 of them have female presidents, which is something to be proud of.”

Casebere expects to see even more women take leadership roles in the hospitality industry because female enrollment is increasing in hospitality schools around the country.

“We have a lot of strong female leaders in our state and think the tourism industry falls in line with what else is going on in our state,” Johnson says. “Arizona has some great examples of strong female leaders on both the political and business arenas. I think the tourism industry emulates that.”

But how did it happen? How did women come to dominate what was once a male-dominated industry in Arizona?

“Tourism offers a variety of tremendous opportunities such as flexibility, rapid career growth, continuing education opportunities and community involvement, all of which make this industry attractive for women,” Henry says. “Because of the career range of this industry, there are myriad opportunities for upward mobility. Most of the women in today’s tourism leadership began their careers either at an entry level position or in mid-level management. It was their dedication, passion, collaborative skills and the genuine focus on the customers’ needs, both externally and internally, that brought these women into leadership roles.”

Pino said one thing that has helped women get a leg up in the industry has been education. Seeing the value of tourism as one of the state’s biggest revenue generators, many Arizona colleges now offer degrees in hospitality, opening the door for stronger career opportunities.

“What the tourism industry really offers is transferable skills,” Johnson says. “If you’re willing to work hard, learn all aspects of the industry, you will be able to use those accumulated skills as you work your way up the ladder.”

Despite the differences between the genders, industry leaders says the qualities that make women effective leaders are not unlike the characteristics that make many men effective leaders.

“If you’re passionate about what this industry means to Arizona and want to see it succeed, then you’ll be an effective leader within it,” Henry says. “Women do have the added bonus of being nurturers by nature. Tourism is an industry where we take care of guests, offer industry comforts and provide the ultimate travel experience. It’s very similar to what women already do for families and friends, so this industry seems to be a very natural fit for many women.”

The professional growth opportunities, as well as the flexibility of the industry that contributes to work-life balance, makes this industry a solid career path for women, Henry says. Additionally, there is essentially a place in the hierarchy for every skill set available, which is also very appealing for women.

“The anecdotal stories about someone starting their career as a room attendant and working their way up to general manager are true,” Henry says. “Even my own story begins with me starting out as a carhop and working my way up to becoming the director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. If you have the passion for the industry there are virtually no limitations to what you can achieve.”

As tourism continues to be an economic engine for Arizona, today’s leaders say there will be event more opportunities for women to take on leadership roles in the industry.

“We are fortunate to have dedicated tourism leaders work together to deliver the passionate and caring spirit of the hospitality industry,” Pino says. “The women who have risen to key positions have set the bar and also opened doors for the next generation.”

CORRECTION Grand Canyon Skywalk Road

Arizona Office of Tourism debuts 2015 guide

Did you know you can visit Arizona’s renowned vineyards by kayak and horseback?  Learn about the Grand Canyon and other geologic masterpieces from Sedona to the Petrified Forest and so much more in the new edition of the Arizona Official State Visitor’s Guide.

The Arizona Office of Tourism’s (AOT) 2015 Arizona Official State Visitor’s Guide (OSVG), and accompanying Official State Visitor’s Map are now available complimentary for travelers wanting more information about the Grand Canyon State’s vibrant travel destinations by ordering online at VisitArizona.com or calling (866) 298-3312.  To download a digital version, click here.

The 2015 magazine-style guide features articles by Arizona-based writers on a sports trivia countdown to Super Bowl XLIX; regional road trips that highlight the state’s diversity; how American Indian artists put a unique spin on traditional crafts;  and a list of restaurants that are so good, you’ll want to take the recipes home with you.

“Our state’s diverse attractions and majestic beauty continue to inspire travelers from all over the world,” said Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.  “Arizona welcomes all visitors to experience the Grand Canyon State.”

Abundant with valuable Arizona tourist information including traveling tips and statewide accommodations, the 116-page OSVG includes articles and regional information celebrating the state’s travel destinations and activities including scenic road trips, family-fun adventures, local cuisine, outdoor experiences, Arizona’s American Indian heritage and Wild West history.

The guide is fully supported by advertising dollars and was produced with no direct costs to the agency’s budget. More than 450,000 copies have been published along with 510,000 accompanying comprehensive maps. Complimentary copies of the guides and maps will be distributed in response to the agency’s consumer advertising campaigns, queries into the Arizona travel call center as well as to travel industry partners and visitor information centers located throughout the state. OSVGs also will be available to travelers at all of Arizona’s major airports: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Tucson International Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

The OSVG serves as the agency’s principal visitor fulfillment resource to encourage travel and tourism activity throughout the Grand Canyon State. AOT works to strengthen the economic impact of the Arizona travel and tourism industry through promotion and marketing efforts. Each year, millions of visitors experience the Grand Canyon State as a travel destination.
In 2013, more than 39 million visitors generated $19.8 billion throughout the state, injecting nearly $53 million each day into Arizona’s economy. The Arizona travel and tourism industry produces revenue in all 15 Arizona counties, and is responsible for generating $2.7 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenues. Additionally, the Arizona tourism industry employs more than 163,500 Arizona residents. Combined with the secondary employment that is generated, nearly 304,000 Arizona residents are impacted by this dynamic industry throughout the state.

Hiking Adventures - EAZ Fall-Winter 2012

Increasing tourism shows importance of Arizona’s brand

The latest data on Arizona’s tourism industry says that business is on the upswing, which is good news for a state looking to put the Great Recession in its rearview mirror.

According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, the number of people visiting Arizona has surged back to pre-recession levels, providing a much needed injection of adrenaline into Arizona’s economy.

When we talk about promoting “base” industries in Arizona, look no further than tourism, which is the ultimate export-oriented industry. According to AOT, visitors to Arizona brought with them nearly $20 billion in direct spending last year on things like hotel rooms, meals and attractions.

That’s big money, and the nearly 200,000 jobs the industry supports are critical to keeping Arizona’s economy humming, which is why protecting Arizona’s brand is so important.

When there are state controversies, it makes it more difficult for our convention and visitor bureaus to succeed. There is no better place than Arizona for events and vacations, but there is fierce competition among the states for conventions and retreats.

Fortunately, the work of leaders like AOT Director Sherry Henry, Chamber board member and Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association President Debbie Johnson and Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau President Steve Moore has put one of our state’s most important job generators on solid footing.

What’s exciting is, as Director Henry told Capitol Media Services earlier this week, we still have room to grow. As Americans and international visitors (our neighbors in Mexico are our number one source of international visitors, Canada is number two) shake off the recession rust, more people are traveling. Attending the recent Governor’s Conference on Tourism gala dinner, I was struck by the level of talent possessed by the individuals assembled in the room who are so committed to growing the state’s profile and keeping Arizona at the top of the list for places people want to visit.

Next year is shaping up to be a big one for the state’s brand. The Super Bowl is coming to University of Phoenix Stadium for the second time (and to Arizona for the third time), and, thanks to leaders like Michael Bidwill, the NFL is bringing the Pro Bowl, too. Throw in the Waste Management Phoenix Open and Spring Training, and the state is poised to break visitor records. Don’t be surprised if your relatives in Minnesota, where AOT is ratcheting up its marketing efforts, call looking for vacation ideas when they’re snowed-in as they watch the best in football, golf and baseball enjoy our gorgeous weather.

I’m convinced that tourism plants the seeds for future business opportunities. My first exposure to Arizona was as a tourist. Years later, when I escaped the freezing cold of Ithaca, New York to head to Arizona to check out law schools, I was hooked. Wherever and whenever I go outside the state, I’m heartened that Arizona is regarded as such an attractive destination. Business executives around the country tell me about golf trips and the visits to the resorts that they’ve made here. Earlier this week when I was in Denver, someone wanted to talk Spring Training. Half a world away in Israel a few weeks ago, in between my snorkeling expeditions, people shared with me their stories of visiting the Grand Canyon.

But tourists and convention planners have plenty of choices of where to spend their dollars. All of this is a good reminder that we all need to be vigilant about our profile outside our borders.

Glenn Hamer is the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is committed to advancing Arizona’s competitive position in the global economy by advocating free-market policies that stimulate economic growth and prosperity for all Arizonans.

Grand Canyon Adventures - EAZ Fall-Winter 2012

Arizona Office of Tourism Partners With Buxton

The Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) is partnering with Fort Worth-based Buxton to develop in-depth profiles of Arizona visitors, at both the state and regional levels.

Buxton’s visitor profiling capabilities will help AOT leaders to:

* increase marketing campaign return on investment,
* better understand visitor potential,
* expand the impact of tourism on local economies, and
* identify ideal media channels to reach future and returning visitors.

The results of Buxton’s analysis will be presented at the Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism, July 16-18 in Phoenix, Arizona.

“AOT’s goal is to provide precise, research-driven strategies to expand travel activity and increase travel-related revenues in Arizona,” said Sherry Henry, director of AOT. “Partnering with Buxton supports this goal by providing the visitor insights we need to strengthen tourism marketing strategies across the state.”

“Buxton is pleased to support AOT’s tourism development efforts,” said Cody Howell, vice president of public sector solutions at Buxton. “Our best-in-class analytics will provide the insights needed to grow tourism revenues and enhance Arizona’s economy.”

By becoming a Buxton client, AOT will have access to SCOUT®, Buxton’s proprietary web-based analytics platform, giving leaders data and information at their fingertips to analyze visitor profiles for different areas of the state.

Buxton has worked with more than 650 cities nationwide to implement retail and tourism development strategies. Clients include Flagstaff, Arizona; Palm Springs, California; and Downtown Dallas, Inc.

Created as an executive agency in 1975, the Arizona Office of Tourism is charged with enhancing the state’s economy and the quality of life for all Arizonans by expanding travel activity and increasing related revenues through tourism promotion. For information on AOT’s program of work, research and media plans, visit www.azot.gov. For information about Arizona travel experiences, visit www.arizonaguide.com.

british airways

British Airways Adds Additional Flight Between Phoenix And London

British Airways announced that the nonstop service between Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and London Heathrow Airport will increase from six to seven days per week beginning December 5, 2012.

“This is great news for Phoenix and our entire region,” Mayor Greg Stanton said. “Intercontinental flights are huge contributors to the success of our Phoenix airport system, our city’s economy and our region’s overall economic future. Building upon the $33 billion the airport pumps into our economy each year, this new flight is a boost that shows how our economy continues to improve.”

This community has seen an economic benefit from the nonstop British Airways flight since it first arrived in Phoenix on July 1, 1996. Adding the seventh day of service is estimated to bring the total economic impact of this flight to $100 million per year.

“International air service development is a focus for us at the city of Phoenix because it’s good for jobs, business and our overall economic development,” said Phoenix City Councilwoman Thelda Williams, who serves on the Downtown Aviation Economy and Education subcommittee.

Airports compete for air service and Phoenix city manager David Cavazos is keenly aware of how important flights are to the vitality of the city and the State. “My goal is to continue to gain additional international routes, while ensuring that this British Airways flight remains successful,” he said.

This European service is important not only to the business community, but to the tourism industry as well. Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, said, “International visitors tend to stay longer to explore the state and more flight options from London will give travelers from the UK and Europe additional opportunities to visit Arizona.”

For more information on British Airways, visit British Airways’ website at britishairways.com.

Tourism Industry - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Arizona Tourism Industry Has A Billion-Dollar Impact On Economy

Economic engine: Arizona tourism industry packs an economic punch of $17.7 billion yearly

Tourism is one of the largest industries in Arizona, but it isn’t just about hotels and golf courses.

Its direct economic impact of $17.7 billion has helped keep the state afloat during some of its darkest economic days, and the ripple effect is even greater. Those dollars spill over to a host of businesses, from the farmers who supply produce to the hotel restaurants to the car dealers who sell vehicles to the banquet servers. They also help keep our police officers and firefighters on the streets, thanks to tax revenues.

“That trickle-down money does affect everyone who is a citizen of Arizona, to some degree,” said Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.

And the money keeps coming, thanks to nearly 37 million overnight visitors annually.

“It’s so important to recognize the tourism industry is always here,” Henry said. “Even in recessionary times, people are still traveling.”

Tourism spending was up 7.9 percent in Arizona from 2009 to 2010 and has increased 25 percent since 2000. Overall, it’s still down 7 percent from its heyday of 2007, but most other indicators are moving in the right direction: Tax revenues, occupancy rates and demand are all up from 2009.

“It’s not that we don’t feel the effects of the recession,” Henry said, “but we’re still in the game.”

While the state has lost 11 percent of its tourism jobs since its high of about 173,400 in 2007, the industry still brings in $48 million a day. Tourism is the number one export industry in Arizona.

One way that benefits every resident directly is when the tax bills come. Taxes from tourism generate $1.3 billion in local and state revenue, which pays for everything from public safety to parks to libraries.

“When you look at the taxes generated, (tourism) saves every Arizona resident $1,000,” Henry said. Her agency, which was created in 1975, is responsible for marketing the state as a whole with multiple programs: advertising, public relations, community outreach, trade and media, and digital and social media, to all domestic and international visitors.
“(Travelers) have a lot of choices, so it’s important your destination stays in top of mind,” Henry said.

Part of the money for tourism outreach comes from tribal gaming. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, tribal gaming revenues contributed $5.5 million to the state’s Tourism Fund. That comes from the $79 million total they deposited to the state, with another 12 percent of their annual revenue of almost $1.7 billion going to cities, towns and counties.

In addition, said Melody Hudson, public relations manager for Gila River Gaming Enterprises, “We have a deep and wide reach as far as our philanthropic activities, too.”

Tourism weaves through the fabric of our economy in ways that aren’t always obvious. Jesse Thompson, director of sales and marketing for the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, gave a list of local businesses that the hotel supports. Zuzu, its on-site restaurant, gets a good deal of its ingredients from local purveyors such as Red Bird Farms, McClendon Farms, Duncan Farms, Crave Artisan Ice Cream and Hickman Family Farms. Audio-visual contractors, limo and taxi drivers, independent conference planners, beverage distributors, decorators, and even the company that launders their linens – sheets, towels, tablecloths, spa robes – would all be affected if business dropped.

However, Thompson is proud that revenues at the 230-room Hotel Valley Ho increased 21 percent in 2011 over 2010, and he expects an 8 percent bump from 2011 to 2012. None of the 240 to 250 employees has been laid off in six years, despite the downturn. He attributes the increase in going after more group bookings.

Another way tourism boosts Arizona’s entire economy is by making the state not only an appealing place to visit, but to live. People might come to see auto shows, sporting events or festivals and decide to make a permanent move.

“People who visit Arizona often fall in love with Arizona and plot ways they can come to work here or bring their businesses,” said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “It’s a gateway opportunity to sell the state of Arizona.”

Because the business community recognizes the importance of both visitors and tourists who become permanent residents, they work to bring major events such as the Super Bowl to the state. Hamer calls it a “showcase for our state.” In addition, the Super Bowl generated $500 million in economic impact in 2008. He expects the number to be at least that much when the Super Bowl returns to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale in 2015.

The business community also supports sports tourism in general, including spring training baseball, college football bowl games, the baseball All-Star game in July 2011, the NBA All-Star game in 2009, and amateur events such as marathons, triathlons, bicycle tours and student sports meets. And it pushed for the 2008 expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center, now one of the top 20 such venues in the nation.

“Our convention business is an important part of our tourism economic engine,” Hamer said.

Unlike other industries such as manufacturing and technology, Hamer said, much of the tourism industry can’t be automated or outsourced. And thanks to the state’s natural and man-made attractions, it appears to be an industry that’s sustainable.

“Arizona as a whole relied so much on construction,” said Heather Ainardi, director of the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau, “and in the next 10 years, tourism is going to be one of the drivers of Arizona’s economy.”

Arizona tourism industry: Economic impact of major winter Valley events

College football bowl games
(Fiesta Bowl, BCS national title game and Insight Bowl)

Economic impact: $354.6 million in 2010-11
2010-11 attendance: nearly 200,000 at all three games

P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

Economic impact: $59 million
2011 attendance: about 30,000 runners

Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show

Economic impact: $52-58 million
2011 attendance: about 250,000

Cactus League baseball

Economic impact: $360 million
2011 attendance: More than 1.47 million

Waste Management Phoenix Open

Economic impact: $180 million (estimated from 2008, when attendance was 538,356)
2011 attendance: 365,062 (event impacted due to weather)

Arizona Business Magazine January/February 2012