Tucson Spotlight

Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase Responsible for $120 million in Direct Spending in 2014

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The results from the new economic impact study of the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase indicate that direct spending associated with the 2014 gem show was $120 million, 20 percent higher than the $100 million spent in 2007 by show owners, exhibitors and buyers.


"The Gem Show is a signature event for Tucson," said Mayor Rothschild. "I'm very pleased to see the increase in visitors from around the world and I'm sure that the vendors and folks who come year after year will greatly enjoy getting around on the streetcar next year."


FMR Associates in Tucson conducted this study in February and employed the same methodology it used when handling economic impact studies of the 2000 and 2007 gem shows. The primary objective of the study is to measure the specific economic and tax revenue impacts that benefit Tucson and Pima County by hosting the annual ‘Showcase'. The three groups profiled were owners, exhibitors and buyers.


"The Gem Show is a huge economic driver for our community, and I am proud to host so many of the shows in Ward 1," said Council Member Regina Romero. "Moving forward, the connectivity created by the streetcar and ongoing west side development will enhance and complement this annual Tucson tradition."


Spending by show owners jumped from $17 million in 2007 to $23 million in 2014. The primary increase in spending came from buyers who spent more than $70 million in 2014 vs. $52 million in 2007. Buyers' spending increased because they came from outside southern Arizona. Out-of-town buyers traveled to Tucson from 45 U.S. states and 18 countries. 


Following are buyers'-spending statistics found in the study:

Daily Spending

  • $394 in 2014, up from $259 in 2007, +52%
  • 34% spent $300+ per day in 2014, up from 24% in 2007
  • Average per trip expenditure = $2,731 in 2014, up from $1,878 in 2007, +45%
  • 26% spent $3,000 or more on their Tucson Gem Show trips in 2014, up from 16% in 2007


On-Site Purchases

  • 70% of international buyers spent $1,000+ in on-site purchases (48% spent $5,000+)
  • 47% of out-of-town buyers spent $1,000+ in on-site purchases
  • 14% of local buyers spent $1,000+ in on-site purchases
  • 88% of buyers interviewed purchased on site
  • 15% of all buyers spent $5,000+ in 2014, up from 5% in 2007


While the number of shows decreased from 49 in 2007 to 40 in 2014, the anchor shows remain in place and are stronger than ever, led by AGTA GemFair Tucson, Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, JCK Tucson and GJX Gem & Jewelry Exchange.


"Our biggest takeaway is that the more people we can attract to the shows from outside Arizona, the higher the direct spending and overall impact will be on Tucson," said Brent DeRaad, Visit Tucson President and CEO.



The Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase attracts tens of thousands of buyers, collectors, dealers, curators and guests for the premier event of its kind in the world. Dozens of shows at varied locations and venues throughout metropolitan Tucson make up Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. Centerpieces of the showcase include the American Gem Trade Association's (AGTA) wholesale-only AGTA GemFair Tucson, at Tucson Convention Center, and the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society's (TGMS) public show (the show that started it all in 1955), also at Tucson Convention Center. Other shows take place in hotels, conference centers, and temporary tents, from one end of the city to another. Future show dates are January 31-February 15, 2015, January 30 - February 14, 2016 and January 28 - February 12, 2017.

Related Document:   gemshoweconimpact-execsummary-8-14.pdf