Arizona enjoyed record numbers of travelers and travel-related spending in 2018, state officials announced Tuesday at the Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Tucson.
Travelers to Arizona spent $24.4 billion in 2018 — $67 million per day and 8% more than the previous record set in 2017, the Office of Tourism said.
Overall, Arizona counted a record-breaking 45.4 million overnight visitors last year, eclipsing the 43.9 million travelers tracked the previous year, according to research performed for the state by Dean Runyan Associates, Longwoods International and Tourism Economics.
“That’s like importing the entire populations of Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Montana and Wyoming into our state over the course of a year,” said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.
“Obviously, that has a tremendously positive impact on local economies across Arizona.”
State tax revenues generated by visitor spending, including hotel bed taxes, rental-car taxes and sales taxes, reached the $1 billion mark for the first time, the tourism office said.
City and county tax revenues generated by tourism increased 17% over the previous fiscal year, to a record total of $1.1 billion.
That tax revenue lessened the tax burden of the average Arizona household by $1,360, Johnson said.
Other findings of the 2018 tourism report, which will be posted online at tourism.az.gov, include:
- Visitor spending directly supported 192,300 jobs in the state in 2018. Those jobs accounted for $7.4 billion in earnings by Arizona workers.
- Arizona had 5.8 million international overnight visitors, up 4% from 2017.
- Visitor volume increased from both of the state’s top international markets, Mexico (3.7 million overnight visitors) and Canada (962,000 overnight visitors).
- Germany was Arizona’s top source of European visitors.
- After eight years of strong growth, visitor volume from China declined nearly 4%.
- Among international markets, the biggest year-over-year growth in visitor volume came from Australia, which was up 15%.
- California remained Arizona’s top source of domestic visitors, but Texas had the biggest year-over-year growth in visitors with an increase of 24%.