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Arizona Tourism has Another Record-Setting Year for Visitation and Spending

July 14, 2008

Arizona Tourism has Another Record-Setting Year for Visitation and Spending
Arizona welcomed 35.2 million Visitors in 2007; Visitor spending topped $19.3 billion

TUCSON (July 10, 2008) – Arizona’s tourism industry experienced another record-setting year for visitation and spending numbers, Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) Director Margie A. Emmermann announced today at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

In 2007, Arizona hosted 35.2 million visitors, including 33.2 million domestic and 2 million international travelers. This combined visitation equates to a net increase of 4.4 percent or 1.5 million visitors over 2006. In 2007, Arizona’s visitor spending brought in $19.3 billion in direct travel expenditures, a 3.2 percent increase over 2006.

AOT has continuously focused on attracting visitors from the lucrative Boomer market as well as other affluent travelers. The agency is making progress in this area, as the percentage of non-resident domestic leisure travelers with a household income of $75,000 or higher increased from 50% to 55% in 2007. The average age of Arizona’s non-resident visitor remains at 49 years.

Although non-resident travel is growing, in-state travel is still a significant aspect of Arizona’s tourism industry. In 2007, 30 percent of overnight visitation came from resident trips. With more residents taking shorter trips closer to home, AOT has increased in-state marketing efforts to support this trend. The latest visitation numbers also indicate resident domestic leisure travelers are skewing older than in previous years.

Arizona and California continue to dominate the Arizona tourism market, followed by Illinois, Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Washington, Colorado and Iowa. Collectively, these top ten markets make up 81.2 percent of travel to Arizona. During the past year, AOT focused its marketing efforts on several of these markets.

While the 2007 visitation numbers are one way to measure success in Arizona tourism, the record $19.3 billion in direct travel spending shows that Arizona’s travel industry continues to bring prosperity to every county by providing jobs, earnings and taxes, according to the Arizona Travel Impacts study released today by the Arizona Office of Tourism.

Travel spending in Arizona has been on the upswing since 2002, reaching $19.3 billion in 2007, a 3.2 percent increase over the previous year. This spending generated 171,500 direct jobs, $5.1 billion in earnings and $2.7 billion in state, local and federal tax revenue.

“Tourism is a blue chip industry that is a constant, stabilizing force in our state’s economy,” said Emmermann. “The job-related earnings generated by our industry spending show an overall growth during the past 15 years, while the earnings in other export industries have fluctuated greatly. Not only does this money allow Arizona’s economy to remain vibrant and competitive, but it also improves the lives of all Arizonans.”

Unlike other industries, taxes generated by travel industry spending are paid by visitors rather than residents. In fact, almost 80 percent of visitor spending in Arizona is made by international travelers and residents of other states. These visitors bring new money to Arizona’s economy and generate revenue in all 15 counties. While the majority of travel-related taxes occur within Maricopa and Pima counties, the collective rural counties in the state have a higher proportion of travel-generated taxes in relation to total taxes. This validates the economic significance travel and tourism has across the entire state.

A full copy of the Arizona Travel Impacts study and link to an interactive tool that will allow users to generate graphs specific to their needs can be found in the “Research & Statistics” section of www.azot.gov.

Created as an executive agency in 1975, the Arizona Office of Tourism is charged with enhancing the state economy and the quality of life for all Arizonans by expanding travel activity and increasing related revenues through tourism promotion and development. AOT works to serve the Grand Canyon State’s travel industry and related businesses, the traveling public, and the taxpayers of Arizona.

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