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The Greater Goal: Quality of Life Positively Impacted by Tourism

The Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau is on a mission. A mission to increase the quality of life for every household in Flagstaff. Sound like a daunting task? Well, the effort needed to create this economic impact may not be easy, but the formula is simple: tourism = dollars. Dollars you don’t have to spend on services you enjoy such as city beautification, parks and recreation, arts and sciences and economic development. According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, approximately 42.1 million people visit Arizona every year, and collectively spend $21 billion. The money spent by visitors supports jobs and generates robust tax revenue. This money is especially concentrated in areas of the state that are more dependent on tourism. An estimated $3 billion in tax revenue equals an annual tax savings of $1,200 for every Arizona household and supports nearly 200,000 jobs.

The direct economic impact of tourism is described above, but like other sectors of an economy, the dollars that are infused into the Flagstaff economy are redistributed and used by all residents in their everyday life: energy bills, shopping, dining out, child daycare, gas – and the list continues. Also, as with other economic sectors of an economy, the lifecycle of the visitor dollar is sustained and far-reaching, with benefits far beyond the tourism industry. An example of how this occurs would be: the visitor pays for their stay at a hotel; the hotel pays their front desk supervisor; the front desk supervisor buys groceries for the family; the grocery store pays their deli department supervisor; the deli department supervisor then pays their cable bill and the cycle continues. All local industries have a similar effect but the difference and the beauty of tourism dollars is that the visitor is not part of the local economy and has a much smaller footprint. They come and infuse our economy with dollars and then return home, utilizing minimal city services compared to a full-time resident. Plus, visitors do not compete for local jobs.

The mission to increase the quality of life for every household in Flagstaff continues for the CVB. With a visitor spend of nearly $700 million per year and growing, the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau, along with all of the businesses in Flagstaff that provide services and support for our visitors, are on a path to accomplishing the greater goal. Regardless of whether you work in the tourism industry or not, tourism revenue positively impacts the quality of your life by affording you and your family beautiful parks, public art, arts and sciences programing for students, economic stability for the community and real tax savings of $1,200 per household. FBN


Listicle side bar: What Can I Do to Enhance Tourism?

  • Invite your friends and family to visit Flagstaff.

Not feeling like hosting the group in your home? We have a number of options, including

hotels, cabins, bed & breakfasts and even yurts!

  • Whether at the grocery store or standing in the bank line, locals are frequently approached by tourists for information.  

Take some time to share your experiences, encourage them to say an extra night to really experience the unique attractions Flagstaff offers. Steer them toward the Flagstaff Visitor Center or flagstaffarizona.org for additional information.

  • Do you belong to an association or any kind of group?

Ask the organization to consider Flagstaff for their next conference.

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One Response to The Greater Goal: Quality of Life Positively Impacted by Tourism

  1. Ben Bethel April 17, 2017 at 9:09 AM #

    Good article…. the future of the economy is primarily going to be service and hospitality and entertainment. Travel and Tourism is a huge part of that. With around 40% of US jobs in danger of being automated in the next 12-13 years, it’s important for us to realize the need to sustain our way of life. Even scarier is the fact that fully-accredited, degree earning, online universities are starting to go completely free – unless college tuition is 100% covered by grants, I think the entire university system could be on the verge of collapse, and NAU is a big part of Flagstaff.

    For us, we live here about 3 weeks a month but take a lot of trips ourselves each year, so we open our home and share it on airbnb while we’re out of town. This not only covers all of our living expenses, it means that we have extra money to go out to shop and eat, and that we have extra money to support local contractors and repairmen and continue to improve our home. It also means that when we’re not in town, we don’t have a house sitting empty. Just like an airline doesn’t want empty seats, cities should never want empty homes. When we have short term renters, this means we have people who eat out more, who shop more, who support local attractions, local tour operators, and support many small businesses.

    It’s a wonderful effect. As a hotelier myself, I know both can exist quite well, as home sharing means that we’re not overbuilding hotels just for seasonal peaks – which only hurts hotels as they ‘race to the bottom’ with room rates during off-peak months. Also, when you have more and more hotels, you have less and less land to utilize for local residential projects, which does nothing to have hold off rent increases.

    I foresee a day when we have less need for big box retail (Amazon Prime same-day delivery will hit here soon), individual grocery stores (in lieu of delivery), no need for a bus system (in lieu of ride-sharing – right now it’d be cheaper to take people door-to-door instead of bus-stop-to-bus-stop, and it’s cheaper to take Uber than owning a car if you drive less than 16K miles per year), no need for car dealerships (we’re moving toward direct sales from manufacturer to car buyer, saving car buyers about 20-25% on the cost of their cars). What does this all mean? Simple – better land utilization for residential projects, food/beverage offerings, and localized shops offering local goods, clothing, and entertainment.

    Exciting times ahead. Let’s just remember that the hotel industry as we know it has only existed since well after the advent of the telephone… and certain retail operations have only existed as we know them for several decades. Through pretty smart developments in distribution and delivery those times are ending now… and the power to earn a living is shifting away from those major corporations and getting back into individual sole proprietors. It’s pretty cool – and just wait until you see more than just Uber rides and Uber food… these services will soon be offering everything from pet sitting to yoga to personal training to cooking, cleaning, repairs… even house calls from doctors and nurses. This allows these people to focus on their skills and not spend 80% of their time owning/operating/maintaining a brick and mortar location.

    Ben Bethel

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