Arizona tourism showing strong recovery

The Arizona Office of Tourism recently released new research reaffirming that Arizona has solidified its status as a top-tier travel destination. 

Research shows that the state is ahead of the national average in post-pandemic tourism recovery.

In calendar year 2021, Arizona outpaced the national rate for both visitor spending and overnight stays. Arizona recovered 87% of its 2019 overnight visitor rate and 92% of the 2019 visitor spending rate.

Additionally, overnight visitors spent $23.6 billion across the state of Arizona, which falls just short of the all-time high mark set in 2019 of $25.6 billion. The 2021 data indicates visitors spent $64.7 million per day. 

“It’s no surprise to see droves of people coming to visit our state. Tourism in Arizona directly translates into economic benefits for communities statewide,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said. “This is a huge testament to the efforts of Director Debbie Johnson, the AOT team and all the hard-working people across Arizona’s tourism industry.” 

On the county level, tourism numbers are starting to trend upwards as well. In 2021, 8 of 15 counties fully recovered or surpassed 2019 levels in visitor spending. 

The year-over-year increase in tourism from 2020 to 2021 brought in $3.4 billion in federal, state and local taxes. Tourism-generated revenues reduced the tax burden per household in Arizona by an average of $738. 

“Arizona’s tourism industry continues to do an outstanding job of marketing our state’s amazing experiences and wide-open spaces to leisure travelers,” said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “There’s strong competition and plenty of work ahead, but we’re very happy that visitors are seeing and selecting Arizona as one of their favorite vacation destinations.”

While the tourism industry is still working to recover to the levels that it was at in 2019, which is regarded as the banner year for Arizona tourism, the research points toward positive growth and recovery in the state for the industry. In the last quarter of 2021, domestic overnight visitation levels surpassed those in the same time frame in 2019 by 1.2%. 

The Arizona Office of Tourism is continuing to promote visitation to the state. These efforts include ongoing visitor marketing campaigns, supporting industry partners and communities with strategic planning and promoting sustainable and responsible tourism.

Taylor Hersch

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