Arizona drawing in Mexico visitors

With its sunny weather, leisure activities and entertaining attractions, Arizona attracts a variety of visitors year after year, including those from Mexico.  

According the the Arizona-Mexico Commission, Mexico visitors are the largest group of international visitors to Arizona. The state experiences approximately 3.6 million overnight visitors from Mexico annually.

A 2008 report conducted by the Eller College of Management for the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) indicates that 24.04 million Mexico visitors came to Arizona between June 2007 and June 2008. Of that, 84 percent were day visits and 16 percent stayed overnight.

Leisure activities, especially shopping, draw the visitors to join its neighbors in Arizona.

“People from Mexico are coming to shop mostly because of the variety of product and the pricing, as well. They’re coming here to buy mostly clothing, electronics, home furniture- so that’s what makes it very attractive to come,” Felipe Garcia, Visit Tucson executive vice president, said.

The 2008 report showed shopping, along with vacation, visiting friends and relatives and personal health, was the reason for more than 63 percent of visiting parties from Mexico.

“Three Arizona malls — Arizona Mills Mall in Metro Phoenix and Tucson Mall and Park Place Mall in Tucson – are the most popular shopping destinations. Among the non-mall stores, WalMart is the most popular in every destination city,” the study stated.

A more recent report prepared for AOT showed Arizona saw $9.7 billion in leisure earnings in 2016.

Not only do leisure visitors from Mexico generate revenue for Arizona, the tourism also creates job opportunities.

According to the Arizona-Mexico Economic Indicators, there were 327,000 Arizona leisure and hospitality employees this October, a 2.9 percent increase from October 2017.

In addition to leisure activities like shopping, vacation, visiting friends and family and personal health, Arizona offers a number of other attractions to visitors.

According to the 2008 study, casinos in Tucson and Phoenix are the most popular attractions for Mexico visitors.

Popular casinos in Phoenix include Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino and Talking Stick Resort and Casino Arizona. Tucson is home to Desert Diamond Casino & Hotel, Casino Del Sol and more.

Next to casinos, zoo parks are the next most visited attraction.

The Phoenix Zoo has more than 140 million visitors annually. In 2015, the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson had nearly 540,000 visitors.

Sierra Ciaramella

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