Here’s how much money the state made in 2021

Here’s how much money the state made in 2021

Arizona tourism isn’t breaking records yet again. But it comes to that.

After the COVID-19 pandemic ended a string of record years for overnight stays and tourism spending, Arizona recovered much of its pandemic losses in 2021 and surpassed national tourism recovery averages.

The Arizona Office of Tourism recorded 40.9 million overnight visits statewide in 2021, up from 32.1 million in 2020, according to new data released July 11. Overnight visits are 87% of pre-pandemic levels; total attendance in 2019 was 46.8 million, an all-time high.

The variety of experiences available in Arizona is an important factor in the state’s ability to recover from the pandemic, said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism.

Simply put, people can customize their experiences based on what they’re most comfortable doing, she said.

“For some people, it was a resort stay,” Johnson said. “For others, it was camping in the middle of nowhere.”

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Tourism spending is improving

Travelers exit their gates at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Nov. 23, 2021, in Phoenix.

Visitor spending is also closer to pre-pandemic levels, with the $23.6 billion generated by 2021 vacationers representing 92% of the $25.6 billion in 2019.

Arizona tourism spending outpaced the nation as a whole, which recovered 76% of its 2019 spending.

Maricopa County, which includes the Phoenix metro area, benefits the most from this visitor spending with $13.9 billion in 2021.

Counties that include Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff and Grand Canyon National Park also benefited from visitor spending in 2021. Arizona tourists spent $1.6 billion in Coconino County and $1.2 billion in Yavapai County in 2021 Mr.; tourism spending in Yavapai has increased by more than 25% from pre-pandemic levels.

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