Arizona Tourism Has Best Ever Year in 2019

Arizona experienced its best year ever for tourism in 2019, including setting an all-time high for Arizonans employed by travel industry jobs directly supported by visitor spending, according to new research released Wednesday by the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT).  

Spending by Arizona visitors directly generated a record 194,300 tourism industry jobs last year. When combined with indirect and induced employment, the travel industry supported 361,300 Arizona jobs. In 2019, Arizona visitors also spent a record $25.6 billion — which equates to $70.1 million per day spent across our state’s 90+ cities, towns and communities.

This record spending in 2019 also generated a record $3.78 billion in combined local, state and federal tax revenue, which reduced the annual tax burden by $1,400 for every Arizona household.  

“We’re proud to recognize the efforts of so many across Arizona’s travel industry which resulted in these record-breaking benchmarks,” said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “While we’re very focused on the recovery of our industry during the next year, this 2019 data helps reinforce the critical role a strong tourism industry plays in Arizona’s economic re-energization.”

In its ongoing commitment to support Arizona’s tourism industry during the crisis and through recovery, AOT also publicly unveiled its  Tourism Strategic Recovery Plan  on Wednesday, which offers specific guidance, tactics and adaptability to serve the needs of Arizona communities.    

“The foundation our industry has built through the best of times will continue to serve us through these challenging times,” Johnson said. “We’ll use the strategies outlined in our Tourism Strategic Recovery Plan to stabilize, recover and rebuild our travel industry, which supports so many Arizonans.”   

The new data was released during AOT’s Governor’s Conference on Tourism, which is being held virtually for the first time ever this year. The annual meeting connects leaders from across the state’s travel and hospitality industry. 

Across all industry metrics, 2019 was Arizona’s best year, during which new records were set in every category.

2019 ARIZONA VISITATION DATA AT-A-GLANCE 
Total Overnight Visitation 46.8 millionUp 2.8%**
Visitor Spending$25.6 billionUp 4.7%**
Tax Revenue$3.78 billionUp 4.2%**
Jobs194,300Up 1%**
Earnings$7.7 billionUp 3.7%**
All data reflects calendar year 2019. **Versus calendar year 2018 data.


Topline Arizona Visitation (all new records):

  • 46.8 million domestic and international overnight visitors experienced Arizona as a travel destination in 2019, up 2.8% over 2018.
  • $25.6 billion in direct travel spending was generated within Arizona in 2019, up 4.7% over 2018.
  • $70.1 million in direct travel spending was injected into Arizona’s economy every single day in 2019.
  • Tax revenue generated by the tourism industry lessens the annual tax burden by $1,400 annually for every Arizona household.
  • 194,300 industry-related jobs were directly generated by travel spending, up 1% over 2018.

Tourism Tax Revenue Generated:

  • $3.78 billion in local, state and federal tax revenues was generated as a result of direct travel spending in 2019, up 4.2% over 2018.
  • Tourism contributed $1.56 billion in federal taxes , up 4.1% over 2018. 
  • Tourism contributed $1.05 billion in state taxes , up 4.1% over 2018. This equals approximately 10% of the entire state budget.
  • Tourism contributed $1.16 billion in local taxes , up 4.5% over 2018.

International Visitation:

  • Arizona welcomed 6.1 million international overnight visitors, including those from Mexico and Canada, an increase of 3.8% over 2018.
  • Visitor volume increased 5.2% from Mexico (4.0 million overnight visitors in 2019) the state’s top international market.
  • Arizona’s Top 5 overseas visitor markets include Germany (145,400), United Kingdom (126,500), France (115,900), Japan (81,000) and China (77,100).

County-Level Data Available by Request:

  • Tax Burden Reduced Per Household by County
  • Travel-Generated Employment by County
  • Direct Travel Spending by County

All research was performed by Dean Runyan Associates, Longwoods International and Tourism Economics. The full calendar year 2019 report is available at tourism.az.gov.

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