The hospitality and tourism industry is a significant economic driver for Flagstaff and Northern Arizona, generating more than 5,400 jobs and delivering nearly $390 million in direct spending annually. The Flagstaff CVB promotes the city as a premier travel destination through marketing, sales and public relations efforts in both domestic and international markets. This section also provides professional visitor services and manages the Flagstaff Visitor Center. In 2012, the Visitor Center assisted more than 96,000 walk-in visitors and the CVB distributed more than 100,000 Official Flagstaff Visitor Guides.
The results of these efforts can be seen in the Bed, Board and Booze (BBB) tax revenues totaling more than $5 million annually, which is then allocated for quality of life services for city residents, such as beautification projects, arts and science programs, recreation, tourism and economic development programming.
In 2012, Flagstaff continued to lead the state with above average occupancy rates and revenue received per available room (RevPAR). The most recent figures to post show that as of November 2012, BBB revenues are up 5.7 percent year to date. In September, Flagstaff’s year to date RevPAR achieved pre-2008 record figures, reaching $53.45 city-wide (Source: Smith Travel Research). Flagstaff is the first reported community to reach this milestone in the state of Arizona, and is also leading national and mountain region trends for industry performance.
Flagstaff also saw the addition of new attractions and enhanced activities for visitors in 2012. The Flagstaff Nordic Center partnered with A’desii Adventures to offer mountain bike rentals, lessons and tours on the center’s trails this summer and hosted a successful first annual Bear Jaw Groove mountain bike race. Both the Flagstaff Ale Trail and Alpine Pedaler saw high levels of participation during their first summer season of operation.
In April, the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course opened at Fort Tuthill County Park. The inaugural season of the course exceeded owner Paul Kent’s expectations, with more than 17,000 tickets sold. Of those 17,000, more than 70 percent were visitors from the Phoenix metropolitan area. The course is currently closed for the winter and plans to reopen in March 2013 with an updated course design and more special events throughout the season.
For the 2012 holiday season, the North Pole Experience relocated operations to Fort Tuthill from Greer, using Little America Hotel as the official hotel and trolley departure location for the experience and the Coconino County Fairgrounds buildings as Santa’s workshop. With this move, North Pole Experience had its busiest season to date; most weekend dates sold out and additional departure times had to be added on peak days. Tickets are already on sale for the 2013 season.
The Flagstaff CVB continues to lead the local tourism community to develop stronger year-round visitation. FBN
Written by Heidi Hansen
Editor’s Note: Beginning this month, Flagstaff Business News will feature a column highlighting the work and services of each section within the City of Flagstaff’s Economic Vitality Division. Tasked with a mission to provide quality services to residents and visitors that enhances Flagstaff’s economic prosperity, the division is made up of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, Economic Development and Community Design and Redevelopment sections. Kicking off this series is a focus on the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the local tourism industry.