When triple-digit temperatures grip the Valley every summer, locals get an opportunity to live the life of Reilly, if only for a few days.
Summer staycations are increasingly popular for Valley and state residents as they discover that the nation’s finest resorts located right in their backyards offer the ultimate luxury experience at an affordable price.
In return, the resorts stay busy between the hot summer months and the official return of resort season in the fall.
Even as the state’s economy diversifies, tourism is still an important part of the economic mix. According to the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT), in 2016, 43 million people visited the state and collectively spent $21.2 billion. That money supports jobs and generates tax revenue. The $3.09 billion in 2016 tax revenue equals an annual tax savings — usually through a steadying of sales tax rates and an increase in workers contributing to the state income tax pool — of $1,186 for every Arizona household. The industry supports 184,200 industry jobs.
Debbie Johnson, AOT’s executive director, said travel to the state is spread evenly throughout the seasons. Summer is the offseason for the Phoenix and Tucson regions, but up in the cool areas of northern Arizona, it’s peak season.
“Our summer marketing campaign is focused on need areas: central Arizona, southern Arizona and the Verde Valley,” she said. “We work closely with the destination marketing organizations in those regions to find out what they want us to promote and where they want us to drive traffic.”
Johnson said the number of front-line workers that hotels and resorts employ is directly related to occupancy rates and projections, so if “AOT and our community partners can help hotels and resorts fill rooms during their need periods, that keeps more workers on the job.”