Arizonans know there are amazing places for Arizona visitors to explore, communities to visit and memories to be made right in their own backyard. And last year proved it.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Grand Canyon State still welcomed 32.1 million total overnight visitors who spent $15 billion here in 2020. Arizonans and people from other states made up the vast majority of those visitors – 94 percent – an increase of 7 percentage points over 2019.
This visitor spending, equaling $41.2 million per day, resulted in $2.7 billion in combined local, state and federal tax revenue generated (down 28 percent from 2019), according to new research released Tuesday by the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT).
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“Arizona is bouncing back from the pandemic stronger than ever,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “Tourism is an integral part of Arizona. Our economy is fully reopened and our tourism destinations are ready to welcome visitors from around the country and around the world. Last week, we announced the Visit Arizona Initiative, providing major funding to help our tourism businesses increase visitation, grow revenue and accelerate their comeback.”
“Arizonans and visitors from drive markets were crucial to carrying our tourism industry through last year,” said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “Now, with the Visit Arizona Initiative providing much-needed resources, we’re excited to be able to enhance recovery and build for the future.”
As always, Arizonans were our state’s largest overnight visitor group (9.1 million), followed by visitors from California (6.8 million), Texas (2.1 million), New York (1.8 million) and Florida (1.5 million).
“It’s great that so many Arizonans and domestic visitors took road trips last year to enjoy Arizona’s wide-open spaces and diverse geography,” Johnson added. “These trips will continue to be vital to our industry’s recovery.”
International overnight visitation was greatly impacted by the pandemic in 2020. Arizona welcomed an estimated 2 million international visitors last year, down 68 percent over 2019, with overseas visitation down 84 percent.
AOT continues to promote visitation and support industry recovery across Arizona. These efforts include ongoing visitor marketing campaigns, supporting industry partners and communities with strategic recovery planning and promoting sustainable and responsible tourism.
AOT will provide further insights into this data during its Governor’s Conference on Tourism, which will be held in person at the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa, Aug. 2-4. The annual meeting connects leaders from across the state’s travel and hospitality industry.