Posted November 01, 2018 07:25:30Arizona tourism industry is booming as tax breaks and state incentives come into force to encourage tourism, a state tourism agency said.
Tens of thousands of visitors to Arizona have booked hotels, motels, resorts and motels-only rentals in 2017, said Kate McEachern, chief executive officer of the Arizona Tourism Authority.
Arizona ranked No. 1 in the nation in the number of visitors for the first three months of 2018, up from the same period last year, according to the tourism industry group Tourism Arizona.
McEacern said tourism in Arizona is expected to reach $1.7 billion in 2021, with hotel occupancy up 25 percent.
The state has a long way to go before it reaches that number, but she expects it to reach about $3.6 billion by the end of the decade, with the biggest impact coming in the Phoenix metro area, where hotels and motel occupancy are expected to increase by 25 percent over 2021.
“This is a great opportunity for the state and for Arizona as a whole,” McEechern said.
“This is the right time to expand and diversify tourism in the state, which has some of the lowest tourism in America and a tremendous amount of potential for growth.”
The Arizona Tourism Association, a statewide tourism association, is providing incentives for hotels and other lodging establishments, with a total of $2.7 million to $2 billion in tax breaks for hotels, hotels-only rental properties and resorts in 2017.
The incentives will be available through the end and beyond 2021.
Tents, trailers, campers, motor homes and motor homes-only properties are eligible for incentives, which will vary by hotel type and price range.
Tent-permit programs, which allow hotels and lodging companies to buy a permit for a tent, trailer or camper, will be expanded to include all types of properties.
The expansion will allow for tent rental in any of the state’s 10 main metropolitan areas, including Phoenix, Tucson, Glendale, Scottsdale, Mesa and Flagstaff.
The tax incentives are being extended through 2021 for all hotels, and they are expected for other properties by 2020.
“Arizona has the greatest tourism potential of any state in the country and our incentives are helping to keep Arizona in the national spotlight,” McPherson said.
“The economy is doing well, jobs are booming, and our tourism industry has been growing faster than any other in the United States.”
Arizona tourism was $7.2 billion, down from $10.5 billion in 2020, and the state recorded its biggest fall in tourism during the year.
Tourism activity in Arizona in 2021 was the lowest in 20 years, according the state.