The Grand Canyon State welcomed 45.5 million travelers in 2018 who directly spent $24.4 billion, according to the Arizona Office of Tourism.

When travelers spend money on food, lodging, attractions, transportation and activities, it supports Arizona jobs and puts more money in the state.

Visitors generated $3.36 million in total tax revenue, according to the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) Arizona Travel Impacts report.

“The tax dollars from visitor spending improve the quality of life for every Arizonan,” said Becky Blaine, AOT deputy director.

“They help pay the salaries of teachers and police officers,” she said. “They pay for infrastructure projects. They fund the upkeep of parks, spring-training stadiums and youth-sports programs.”

Tourism directly supported 192,300 jobs in 2018 and the secondary impact of tourism supported 165,000 jobs, according to the report.

“The 45 million people who visit each year – that’s six visitors for every Arizona resident -provide an expanded customer base for businesses large and small,” Blaine said.

With a 7.8 percent increase in travel spending in Arizona from 2017 to 2018, AOT continuously works to expand the state’s tourism.

“According to the advertising-effectiveness study we commission annually, AOT’s advertising efforts influenced more than 800,000 incremental trips to Arizona last year, resulting in $1.4 billion of travel revenue,” Blaine explained.

Blaine explained that in 2018, AOT added New York to its target-city list and will be adding Dallas this year.

“Internationally, AOT annually conducts over 5,000 destination trainings and sales appointments in six different countries,” Blaine said. “International travelers are a little harder to reach than their domestic counterparts, but we are committed to marketing to them because they stay longer and spend more during their visits.”

As AOT draws tourism in 2019 and years to come, the team will continue to take care of the natural beauty that attracts people to the state.

“Surveys consistently show that Arizona’s scenic beauty and outdoor-recreation opportunities drive visitation and define our brand. We have to protect those things,” Blaine said. “That means weaving ‘Leave No Trace’ messages into our content-marketing strategies and listening to the specific and seasonal needs of our stakeholders.”


This story was originally published at Chamber Business News.