Arizona, Pima County report record year for tourism

Arizona tourism sets new record

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It was a historic year for the tourism business in Arizona.

According to the governors office, tourists spent $24 billion in the state in 2018, and almost $2.5 billion in Pima County alone.

As Rochester natives taking a tour of the desert southwest, the Holtbys can quickly agree on one thing about Tucson - it’s hot.

“A lot of hot, a lot of dry,” said Dave Holtby, while his family stands in some nearby shade for some relief during a visit to Saguaro National Park West.

The family is also impressed by the natural beauty of the desert, joining a growing number of summer visitors to the Old Pueblo.

“Definitely completely different (from what we’re used to),” said Holtby. “It’s like we’re in an old western movie.”

Just a small part of the 6.8 million tourists who visited Pima County last year - a new record.

“These are exciting times there’s been unprecedented growth,” said Mary Rittman, President of Visit Tucson, the city’s tourism arm. Rittman says the area is seeing a lot of tourists from Los Angeles and Hermosillo, Mexico.

Events like the gem show, air show, and Tucson rodeo help draw tourists - and their money.

“Every household in Pima County has a reduced tax burden because of the taxes contributed by visitors,” said Rittman. “In the winter it’s people wanting to escape the cold, but in the summer it’s people looking for a short, fun, vacation.”

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