PHOENIX — More people visited Arizona last year than ever before and spent record amounts of money according to research released Wednesday by the Arizona Office of Tourism.
The state welcomed 43.9 million overnight visitors in 2017 and those visitors collectively spent $22.7 billion during their stays. That works out to $62 million in tourism spending per day.
Visitor spending in Arizona has steadily climbed every year since 2009, when reverberations from the recession reduced tourism across the United States. The nearly 7 percent rise in 2017 is the biggest year-to-year spending increase in more than a decade.
“Tourism is a vital part of an Arizona economy that is diverse, collaborative and relentlessly growing,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. “The consumer spending by the 44 million visitors who came to our state last year contributed to every Arizonan's economic security by creating and sustaining jobs, and generating tax revenues that elevate our quality of life.”
According to the Office of Tourism’s annual research, which was released at the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism, visitor spending directly supported 187,000 jobs in the state in 2017. Those tourism-related jobs generated $6.9 billion in employment revenue and $3.4 billion in tax revenue.
Each of those performance indicators—jobs, employment earnings and tax revenue—represented a historical high for Arizona’s tourism industry.
“These record numbers are a testament not only to Arizona’s appeal as a visitor destination, but to how effectively our state’s tourism community—at every level, state and local, public and private—markets Arizona to the rest of the world,” said Arizona Office of Tourism Director Debbie Johnson.
Johnson pointed out that nearly $2 billion of the tax revenue generated by tourism in 2017. benefited state and local governments. Tourism-related tax collections at the city and county level increased 14 percent over the previous year, while tourism-related state tax collections were up 9 percent.
“These are tax dollars that pay the salaries of teachers and police officers, and fund the upkeep of parks, infrastructure, spring training stadiums and youth-sports programs,” Johnson said.
The Arizona Office of Tourism’s annual research on visitor volume, spending and tax impact is performed by Dean Runyan Associates and Tourism Economics.
Summaries will be posted online at tourism.az.gov.