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Arizona Office of Tourism Announces Marketing Recommendations for Nogales, AZ

March 27, 2014

Plan Outlines Opportunities for Tourism Development and Promotion

This week, the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) unveiled a Tourism Development and Marketing Plan to the newly formed Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Board (EDTAB) in Nogales, AZ.

Tourism is an important economic sector for Nogales. The community serves as one of the state’s most intriguing locations where travelers can enjoy the area’s unique history and heritage, along with the convenience of accessing Mexico for a more regional visitor experience. Additionally, Mexican visitors cross the border to Nogales to shop, supporting a wide range of retailers and restaurants.

However, like many areas along the Mexico border, Nogales has been hit with the economic recession and federal issues that have created a negative perception of safety and security throughout the region. In an effort to proactively address these challenges, AOT worked jointly with a variety of Nogales based organizations to develop a Tourism Development and Marketing Plan for the destination.

“Nogales is a vibrant community that unfortunately has not seen a rebound in the performance of its visitor industry like other destinations throughout the state,” said Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “These recommendations that we are offering will help define tourism opportunities in their area and encourage visitation so that Nogales and Santa Cruz County can stimulate its local economy and benefit from those valuable visitor dollars.”

AOT contracted with Nichols Tourism Group (NTG), to serve as a consultant to the community and undertake this initiative. This effort was funded in part by AOT, but the work incorporated input and perspectives from a study team that included representatives from:

  • The City of Nogales
  • The Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority
  • Nogales Community Development
  • The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas
  • The Nogales-Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce
  • The Nogales-Santa Cruz County Tourism Partnerships, and
  • Nogales Retailers

AOT, along with Mitch Nicholas from NTG, presented the recommendations to the EDTAB and Nogales city officials on Wednesday, March 26. The recommendations included proactive steps that Nogales can take such as:

  • formalizing a Tourism Advisory Group
  • integrating assets in Nogales (both Arizona and Sonora) to maximize marketing opportunities
  • looking for cross-promotion opportunities with other Southern Arizona destinations
  • refining key messaging and the brand position of Nogales and
  • expanding the awareness of Nogales through website development and public relations efforts.

AOT’s first recommendation has already been implemented by Nogales officials with the development of the EDTAB. The board includes 15 area business and community leaders. The group will focus on strategic economic development and marketing opportunities for Nogales.

"The Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Board (EDTAB) is going to help create the vision for the City of Nogales,” said Arturo Garino, Nogales Mayor. “We look forward to working in partnership with AOT to rejuvenate tourism to our beautiful community."

AOT’s Tourism Development and Marketing Plan is one of many projects being conducted in the southern border region to promote tourism and economic development. Other projects include the Governor’s Border Communities Roadmap , the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Arizona-Sonora Border Master Plan, and the Arizona Mexico Commission Tourism and Arts Committee, all of which reflect the Ambos Nogales initiative that promotes the importance of a robust economic relationship between Nogales, AZ and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico.

“Moving forward with these recommendations, Nogales has strong potential to improve performance in its visitor industry, bringing additional spending, tax generation and job creation to the community,” Henry continued. “Additionally, many of these initiatives will help expand quality of life assets that are important to Nogales residents, and that can benefit all Arizonans.”

Each year, millions of visitors experience the Grand Canyon State as a travel destination.  In 2012, more than 38 million visitors generated $19.3 billion throughout the state, injecting nearly $53 million each day into Arizona’s economy.

The Arizona travel and tourism industry produces revenue in all 15 Arizona counties, and is responsible for generating $2.6 billion in local, state and federal tax revenues. This equates to more than $1,080 per Arizona household. Additionally, the Arizona tourism industry employs more than 161,300 Arizona residents. Combined with the secondary employment that is generated, nearly 300,000 Arizona residents are impacted by this dynamic industry throughout the state.

For more information about AOT’s marketing programs to increase the economic benefits of the Arizona travel industry, visit

For the full report on the recommendation, visit

For the presentation conducted for Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Board and Nogales city officials, visit


About Arizona Office of Tourism
Created as an executive agency in 1975, the Arizona Office of Tourism is charged with enhancing the state’s economy and the quality of life for all Arizonans by expanding travel activity and increasing related revenues through tourism promotion.  For information on AOT’s program of work, research and media plans, visit For information about Arizona travel experiences, visit     

About Nicholas Tourism Group
Nicholas Tourism Group (NTG) is a national leader in providing strategic planning, marketing and development services to the travel and tourism industry. Established in 1996, the firm has completed an extensive array of detailed strategic planning services for clients ranging from convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), state tourism offices, county destination management organizations (DMOs), regional tourism promoters, Native American tribes, the United States Forest Service and numerous private developers. NTG’s tourism strategy projects have involved work from Alaska to Mexico, and the firm has developed broad statewide strategic plans for both the state of Arizona and the state of Sonora, Mexico.





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