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Sacco: Celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week


National Travel and Tourism Week will be celebrated May 19-25 this year. The week spotlights travel’s essential role in stimulating economic growth, cultivating vibrant communities, creating quality job opportunities, inspiring new businesses and elevating the quality of life for Americans every day.

For over a century, people have traveled great distances to relax and rejuvenate in Scottsdale. Tourism is the foundation of our city and the backbone of our local economy. Though our economy has diversified with the expansion of construction, high technology, healthcare and other industries, Scottsdale’s first industry remains one of our largest today — in jobs, tax revenue, economic impact and, most notably, in its contribution to our quality of life.

Thanks to Scottsdale’s 10.8 million annual visitors, $3.2 billion is injected into the local economy each year, according to Applied Economics. Visitor spending supports the livelihoods of over 24,000 people in the community — helping put friends, family members and neighbors to work in a rewarding industry with ample growth opportunities and jobs ranging from restaurant servers to spa directors to resort general managers.  

Many of Scottsdale’s hospitality businesses are small, locally owned and operated businesses. According to Local First Arizona, for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $43 remains in the local economy. By driving incremental visitation and promoting all of Scottsdale’s amenities, Experience Scottsdale helps stimulate small business growth in the community.

When visitors spend at Scottsdale’s hotels, shopping centers, art galleries and businesses of all sizes, they’re also generating significant revenue for the city’s tax coffers. In fact, 21% of the city’s total privilege tax collections are generated by visitors. Such visitor-generated bed- and sales-tax revenue supports not only important public services like police, fire and transportation but also elevates the city in other ways.

The city annually invests millions of visitor-generated tax dollars into capital projects that benefit Scottsdale residents. On average, during the past 13 years, the city of Scottsdale has invested more than $6 million of bed-tax revenue annually into capital projects. This year, the city has budgeted $16 million in bed-tax dollars for capital projects, thus supporting attractions and venues like WestWorld of Scottsdale, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, TPC Scottsdale and Scottsdale Stadium.

These are pillars of our community that welcome visitors and locals alike, including for special events and festivals. Special events activate the community throughout the year, and last year, $4.4 million of bed-tax revenue supported nearly 40 community and special events, from the Parada del Sol Parade to Canal Convergence and beyond.

Scottsdale’s visitors generate demand for these special events and for the amenities that make Scottsdale such a dynamic place to live, work and visit. Because we all take advantage of our resorts, golf courses, spas, arts and cultural attractions, shops, restaurants and more, we all have a stake in the health and vitality of Scottsdale’s tourism industry and destination promotion. Since 1987, Experience Scottsdale’s promotions have ensured that Scottsdale’s brand as a luxury travel destination remains strong and that millions of visitors land in our community every year. Research from Longwoods International reveals that Experience Scottsdale contributes to a positive perception of the destination and generates $116 in visitor spending and $4 in state and local tax revenue for every dollar spent on advertising.

During National Travel and Tourism Week, I hope you’ll join Experience Scottsdale and hundreds of hospitality businesses throughout the city in recognizing travel’s invaluable role in the success of Scottsdale’s economy, community and residents.

Rachel Sacco is the president and CEO of Experience Scottsdale. Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at AzOpinions@iniusa.org.