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Arizona Office of Tourism Releases 2012 Travel & Tourism Industry Statistics

July 15, 2013

Arizona welcomed 38.1 million visitors in 2012; direct travel spending topped $19.3 billion

The Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) announced the 2012 visitation statistics and economic impact of the Arizona travel and tourism industry at the annual Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

According to the latest research data released by AOT, more than 38 million domestic and international overnight visitors experienced Arizona as travel destination in 2012. Direct travel spending generated $19.3 billion, which is approximately $53 million contributed to Arizona’s economy each and every single day. The industry statistics were released by AOT at the annual conference held at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort and Spa, July 11-12.

Additional statistics gathered by AOT’s research vendor, Dean Runyan Associates, include:

  • 161,300 industry-related jobs generated by direct travel spending; Combined with secondary employment that is generated through this direct travel spending, total job generation for Arizona is nearly 300,000.
  • $5.4 billion is earnings generated by direct travel spending
  • $2.6 billion in local, state and federal tax revenues generated by direct travel spending; tax revenue generated by the travel and tourism industry lessens the annual tax burden by 1,080 for every Arizona household.

“Tourism is one of Arizona’s top-export industries and generates thousands of jobs, millions of dollars in earnings and billions of dollars in tax revenues all of which directly impacts every Arizona resident,” said Sherry Henry, AOT director. “This type of economic activity validates the important role the travel and tourism industry plays in the economic development of communities throughout Arizona.”

According to Henry, unlike other industries, taxes generated by travel industry spending are paid by visitors rather than residents. These visitors bring new money into Arizona’s economy and generate revenue in all 15 counties.

The annual conference, co-sponsored by the Arizona Office of Tourism and the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association, is the industry’s premier professional development event. More than 450 statewide travel and tourism professionals attend the event to gain valuable insight from informative breakout sessions and industry-related keynote speakers aimed at improving marketing efforts. 

In addition to announcing the annual statistics, Henry also announced the Office of Tourism’s marketing plans for the forthcoming fiscal year. Three imaging and positioning research surveys were conducted by Strategic Marketing & Research , Inc., Longwoods International, and MMGY Global at the request of AOT. The agency will be using key insights learned from the surveys in new marketing plans in the promotion of Arizona.

Among the agency’s major marketing announcements, AOT will be launching a new national leisure tourism advertising campaign; launching trade and media efforts in the visitor markets of China and Brazil; and continuing with a co-operative marketing plan designed to promote rural Arizona destinations. 

The entire Arizona Travel Impacts study can be found in the Research & Statistics sections of For more information about Arizona’s statewide travel destinations visit

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