Tucson Spotlight
Tucson Attractions Passport Explore

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Official Travel Guide
Visit Tucson

Quality of Life

Tourism sustains and expands recreational and entertainment opportunities for visitors, which, in turn, are enjoyed by local residents.


Restaurants in Arizona also are an engine of economic growth, generating tremendous sales and tax revenues for the state. They provide career and employment opportunities for individuals of every age, background, and skill and experience level. Restaurants are an important part of their communities and neighborhoods, giving time and resources to support various local causes.

  • Restaurants in Metro Tucson depend on visitor (non-resident) traffic for as much as 25% of their business.
  • Every $1 spent in restaurants in Arizona generates an additional $1.06 in sales for other industries in the state.
  • Each additional $1 million spent in eating-and-drinking places in Arizona generates an additional 40.1 jobs in the state.
  • The restaurant industry is the nation's largest private sector employer. Restaurants employ 12.5 million people today, and are expected to add 1.9 million new jobs between 2006 and 2016.
  • The Tucson Originals, formed in 1999, works to preserve the culinary spirit of the region; this association of independent local restaurants has helped many of Tucson's signature restaurants survive and thrive.
  • Read "Tourists Savor World-Class Dining," a story about the positive impact of winter visitors for local restaurants. Source: BizTucson, July 14, 2011.
  • Arizona Restaurant Industry At a Glance (PDF)
  • National Restaurant Association Research & Insights.

Source: Arizona Restaurant Association, National Restaurant Association


Most of our attractions in Tucson & Southern Arizona are sustained by tourism, relying on tourists for about 60 to 70 percent of their revenues. It is unlikely that many of the attractions in our region could have remained open or expanded without the growth in tourism.*

A sample of major attractions in Southern Arizona and their 2009 attendance rates includes Reid Park Zoo (521,335), Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (399,129), Pima County Fair (240,000), Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley (200,100), and Old Tucson (189,000).**

The Southern Arizona Attractions Alliance is a nonprofit organization of regional attractions dedicated to cooperatively promote tourism and visitation in southern Arizona.

* Source: Tom Moulton, Economic Development and Tourism Department Director, Pima County

** Source: Book of Lists, Inside Tucson Business, 2010.


The arts make us richer, not only culturally and creatively but financially, also, because the arts attract tourists and new tourism dollars.

Sixty-five percent of U.S. travelers include cultural events as a part of their trips. Pima County visitors spend an average of $41 per person at arts and culture events (residents spend an average of $30).

The arts earn tax revenue for local and state government. According to the American for the Arts, in FY 2005, non-profit arts organizations in Pima County generated more than $2.5 million in revenue for local governments, and more than $2.7 million in revenue for state government.

The arts enhance the quality of our lives. The arts preserve our cultural heritage and support ethnic diversity. Beyond their intrinsic value, arts and culture drive a creativity-based economy.

Source: Why the Arts Matter, Tucson Pima Arts Council

Events & Festivals

According to the Travel Industry Association tens of millions of adults attend an event or festival while on a trip of 100 miles or more. Some of the type of events that draw tourists are arts and music festivals, ethnic heritage or folk festivals, county or state fairs, parades, food festivals, rodeos, athletic events, and religious festivals.

Festivals and events are big attractions in Tucson & Southern Arizona. See major event profiles and recent attendance of some of the larger events in our region.

The growing festival market is represented in Metro Tucson & Southern Arizona by the Festival Event Association of Tucson and Southern Arizona (FEATSAZ).



Mary Rittmann
Director of Public & Community Relations
800-638-8350 ext. 127

Dan Gibson
Director of Communications
800-638-8350 ext. 133 




Industry Updates

How boosting Arizona as a tourism mecca will reap untold benefits, Read More.

Overnight visitation to Arizona up 4.1% in 2014 to 40.7 million. Download PDF

Tourists pay wages of 23,410 Tucsonans, $185 million in taxes
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Tourism Matters, Now
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U.S. Travel Employment Reaches New Record High in July
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Arizona tourism enjoying nice rebound, report says
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Gem show contributes $120m
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