State Tourism Industry Finally Making a Comeback

Phoenix, AZ – The study for the Arizona Office of Tourism shows there were nearly 40 million overnight visitors in Arizona last year. That is a 4 1/2 percent jump from 2009. All that translates to dollars, with the agency figuring that tourism generated $17.7 billion in direct spending. Sherry Henry, the state's tourism director, said Arizona has benefitted from an increasing number of international visitors. She credited some of that to a new federal law which created a special board to develop educational campaigns to help would-be international travelers.

(Their pure propose is making it easier for travelers to come, looking at getting more visa waiver countries. Because that international travel is so important because they have a tendency to stay longer and they spend a lot of money.)

One big increase came in the number of Canadian visitors. That was likely helped by the fact that the Canadian dollar has increased in value against its U.S. counterpart, making travel here a better deal. Henry said the overall improvement is the result of all elements of the tourism industry working together.

(We have partnerships, we have collaborations, we have programs that we do together. And it's all about one thing: Exposing the wonders of Arizona to the visitors, whether it's a business visitor, family reunion, leisure visitor. It doesn't really matter.)

Henry said figures for the current year will not be available for awhile. But she said indicators suggest the trend will continue. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.