STR projects continued tourism success in 2018-19

From the Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona to Saguaro National Park in Tucson to the bustling city in the Valley of the Sun, Arizona is an attractive tourist destination. Last year, Arizona broke records in the tourism department with 43.9 million overnight visitors who spent $22.7 billion. In 2017 alone, tourists generated $3.4 billion in tax revenue and added 320,000 hospitality jobs, proving that tourism is a vital part of Arizona’s economy.

In the last month, representatives from Smith Travel Research, Inc. (STR) and the Arizona Tourism and Lodging Association traveled around the state, releasing tourism projections for Northern Arizona, Tucson, and Phoenix. STR highlighted Phoenix, Tucson and Northern Arizona tourism projections in comparison to national forecasts.  

“The reports by STR support a continued trajectory for increased visitation and business,” said Drennon. “We set a record with 43.9 million people visiting Arizona in 2017, as recorded by the Arizona Office of Tourism, and based on these three forecasts we should be well positioned to keep attracting more people to discover this great state.”Tucson is attracting visitors at the fastest rate, projected to outpace the state and nation in occupancy, revenue per available room, and the average daily rate. Phoenix will be relatively consistent with the nation’s growth rate, but occupancy rates are expected to surpass the national prediction. Northern Arizona will be slightly behind the nation and the rest of the state, trailing in most categories. Nevertheless, Executive Vice President of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association David Drennon is optimistic about STR’s projections.

2017 was a record breaking year for Arizona tourism. Yet, based on STR’s trajectory report, Arizonans can expect tourism to surpass 2017’s success, becoming an increasingly impactful economic stimulus.

Megan Donahey

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