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Tribal Lands in Arizona Attract High-Value Visitors

June 20, 2006

Contact: Michelle Thompson, (602) 364-3724
May 24, 2006

Tribal Lands in Arizona Attract High-Value Visitors
Arizona Office of Tourism Releases Benchmark Study

According to a recent study from the Arizona Office of Tourism, tribal lands in Arizona are attracting high-quality visitors who stay longer and spend more o­n lodging, shopping and entertainment than Arizona visitors generally.

The study, which is the first in Arizona and the Southwest, was conducted during an 18-month period by the Arizona Hospitality Research & Resource Center at Northern Arizona University. The Survey of Visitors to Arizona’s Tribal Lands included the participation of seven tribes and o­ne tribal enterprise throughout the state and shows that visitors to these areas are older, have higher incomes, stay longer and spend more than visitors to Arizona in general. Average annual household income was 2,000, considerably higher than the ,700 average for Arizona domestic overnight visitors. Visitors who shopped o­n tribal lands in Arizona spent an average of 8 per-party/per-day. Sightseeing, recreation and shopping were the dominant reasons for visiting, with general sightseeing accounting for more than 52 percent of activities. More than 54 percent of visitors indicated the tribe as the primary destination o­n their trip, and nearly 60 percent of visitors used word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family when planning the trip. Overall visitor satisfaction was high, ranking 9.2 o­n a scale from 1 to 10 (where 10 is totally satisfied) and 98 percent of visitors would recommend a trip to their friends and family. Moreover, more than half of visitors (56.5 percent) were repeat travelers to tribal lands.

“In keeping with our commitment to work closely with tribes, this study represents a new level of partnerships for AOT,” said AOT Director Margie A. Emmermann. “This unique study will provide the background necessary to more effectively target our message as we enhance our Native American marketing program.”

By laying the groundwork with this study and working in partnership with tribes throughout Arizona, AOT will strategically and proactively market Arizona’s Native American experiences and products. The information will also enhance AOT’s ability to market to a broader demographic and to groups that are less likely to visit these areas.

“By working with the Arizona Office of Tourism, we will be able to more effectively showcase the attractions that Native American communities offer,” said Raymond Endfield, Tourism Director for the White Mountain Apache Tribe. “This study will be invaluable as we formulate future goals and set out to attract new audiences to our tribal lands.”

The study also highlighted areas of opportunity for the tribes, such as additional product development to attract families. Currently, o­nly 11 percent of travel parties included children under the age of 18. Based o­n the low number of visitors (12.2 percent) who relied o­n the Internet for information, tribes may also benefit from Web sites that are geared specifically to the cultural visitor market and contain detailed visitor information. Web sites may also enhance marketing programs to reach Gen X visitors, who currently represent a very small portion of visitors.

The study was sponsored by the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) and will be used to guide planning, product development and marketing. Executive summaries from this study and the Analysis of Rural vs. Metro Tribes will be posted o­n under Research.

Created as an executive agency in 1975, the Arizona Office of Tourism is charged with enhancing the state economy and the quality of life for all Arizonans by expanding travel activity and increasing related revenues through tourism promotion and development. AOT works to serve the Grand Canyon State’s travel industry and related businesses, the traveling public, and the taxpayers of Arizona.

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