Arizona's Tourism Numbers are Up

Jul 13, 2012

There's some good news this morning on the state tourism front: People are wanting to come here again.

The study for the Arizona Office of Tourism shows spending by visitors is approaching pre-recession levels: They dropped $18.3 billion of their cash in the state last year. That's just 3 percent below what it was in 2007. One out of every seven overnight visitors came from another country, led by Canada and Mexico. But tourism office spokeswoman Kiva Couchon pointed out that the number of tourists from Brazil and China has more than doubled in the last five years.

"They have had tremendous growth in their middle class and their economies are strong and more stable than they have been in previous years," Couchon said. "So you're seeing more travel activity and more consumers being comfortable spending money on travel."

Couochon also said Brazil is now part of the U.S. government's visa waiver program, making it easier for residents there to come here. And she said the Chinese government has been easing travel restrictions for its citizens. Still, Arizona has a long way to go to become the must-see place for international tourists. New York topped the list, bagging more than a third of foreign visitors, followed by California and 22 percent and Florida at 20 percent. Arizona's share of that market -- just 3.1 percent.