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Tourism Matters!

See how tourism supports our state and local economy

Tourism Matters to Tucson!

The travel industry is the single biggest export that Arizona offers. In the Tucson region – which includes City of Tucson, Pima County, and southern Arizona – travel provides many local residents with jobs and generates tax revenue for city, county and state governments.

Visit Tucson’s mission is to bring visitors to the Tucson region. This impacts the local economy in many beneficial ways. Revenue generated by Visit Tucson activities is tied directly to the number of travelers who come to the region and stay in hotels. Those who benefit directly from tourism dollars range from servers at restaurants and staff at attractions to taxi drivers, shop clerks and even local artists and musicians. For those who don't work at a tourism-related business that receives direct income from tourism, there are unseen benefits provided by tourism-related tax revenue. Taxes paid by people who vacation here offset our own state and local taxes and help pay for public safety initiatives, new infrastructure and community services.

Consistent funding for tourism promotion from local and state governments helps to ensure that our economy stays strong and our local community is able to thrive. Recent statistics show how tourism matters in many ways:

Economic Impact

Metro Tucson has enjoyed nearly double-digit percentage increases in revenue per available room (RevPar), a vital metric for hotels and resorts, over the past two-plus years. Tucson's RevPar increased 8.9% during the 2017-2018 fiscal year and this growth has continued into 2018-2019. Here are examples of tourism's impact over the 2017-2018 fiscal year: 

  • $235,466,539 is the value of Visit Tucson’s economic impact on the metro Tucson region, July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018. This value was calculated from metrics for leisure visitors, meetings booked, sports events recruited, Mexico visitor reservations, value of earned media, and direct spending for films, commercials and photo shoots.
  • $120 million in direct spending was associated with the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase in February 2018. This amount is in addition to Visit Tucson's $235,466,539 economic impact calculation for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Visit Tucson is the lead marketing entity and serves as operational liaison for Tucson's major gem show event.
  • $25 in economic impact was generated by Visit Tucson for every $1 invested in the organization.

Here are additional statistics from 2017 about Pima County (Tucson is the county seat), sourced from the Arizona Travel Impacts study, prepared by Dean Runyan Associates for the Arizona Office of Tourism.

  • Visitor spending in Pima County grew $171 million -- from $2.183 billion to $2.354 billion -- in 2017.
  • Pima County's travel sector added 800 jobs in 2017 to 25,500, while local and state tax receipts from Pima County visitors grew from $197 million in 2016 to $201 million in 2017.
  • The number of domestic overnight visitors to Tucson and Southern Arizona grew from 6 million in 2016 to 6.5 million in 2017.

Local Engagement

Tourism is vital to the local and state economy. For local residents who want to get involved, here are three suggestions:

  • Invite your friends and relatives to visit. Word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends are trusted and important sources of travel information.
  • Explore your own backyard. Visit the restaurants, attractions, parks and other attractions that out-of-towners travel here to experience.
  • Share the value of tourism. Locals can help sustain tourism marketing programs by engaging in Visit Tucson partnership activities, marketing campaigns and social media stories, and by sharing destination travel guides.

Due to visitor spending, each Pima County household had its tax burden reduced by $500 in 2017.

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