Tucson is one of nine cities worldwide honored as a World Festival & Event City by a major trade association of event professionals.
The International Festivals & Events Association announced and recognized Tucson and the other 2017 recipients of its festival cities designation Thursday, during its 62nd annual convention at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa.
Other cities that were honored were Des Moines, Iowa, and Philadelphia in the U.S.; Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie Region and Sydney, all in New South Wales, Australia; Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia; Hadong-gun, Gyeongsangnam-do, South Korea; and New Taipei City, Taiwan.
The global honor comes nearly two years after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named Tucson the first U.S. “City of Gastronomy” as part of the organization’s Creative Cities Network.
The festival-city designation honors cities for “their community leadership and ongoing, concerted efforts/support to provide a positive local environment that is conducive to and encourages the success and growth of festivals and events,” IFEA World President and CEO Steven Wood Schmader said in an award letter. Festivals and events create community and economic capital in the markets that they serve.
Tucson supports more than 40 festivals and similar events annually, including the weeks-long Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase, the Tucson Jazz Festival, the Tucson Festival of Books, the Tucson Folk Festival, Tucson Meet Yourself and the Tucson International Mariachi Conference, as well as sports-oriented events including El Tour de Tucson, the Tucson Conquistadores Classic PGA Champions Tour golf tournament and the Tucson Rodeo.