Arizona Tourism Industry Recovers From Recession

Thanks to the downturn in the U.S. economy, 2009 was a difficult year for tourism in Arizona. Last year proved much better, however, according to the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT), which recently released the state's 2010 tourism industry statistics.

According to AOT, Arizona welcomed 39.6 million overnight domestic and international visitors in 2010, up 4.5 percent from 2009. Collectively, those visitors generated $17.7 billion — or $48 million a day — in direct spending for the state economy, as well as $2.5 billion in local, state and federal tax revenues, which is equal to more than $1,040 a day for every Arizona household.

Other findings from AOT:

• Tourism created more than 152,200 industry-related jobs.
• Tourism generated $4.9 billion in earnings.
• Overseas visitation to Arizona saw a 15 percent increase over 2009.
• More than 650,000 visitors traveled to Arizona from Canada, which is up 16.5 percent form 2009.

"No other Arizona industry produces the same economic impact to the Grand Canyon State than our travel and tourism industry," said AOT Director Sherry Henry. "As Arizona's top export-oriented industry, tourism directly impacts all 15 counties within our state. By generating thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in earnings and billions of dollars in tax revenues, tourism is critical to Arizona's economic vitality."

Henry unveiled Arizona's 2010 tourism statistics last week at the 2011 Governor's Conference on Tourism, where she also reiterated her office's commitment to destination marketing in the coming fiscal year.

"To remain competitive for visitor dollars in the global tourism market and increase the economic impact from this dynamic industry, it is vital that we continue to market Arizona as a premier travel destination to bring even more travelers to the state," she said.