Hit the Road!
With so many Arizonans driving to San Diego each weekend to escape the heat, it’s easy to forget that most of the year we are a tourist destination. In fact, Arizona’s tourism industry hit a new high last year due to a combination of hosting the Super Bowl, avoiding negative media attention, and improving economic conditions nationwide. The Arizona Office of Tourism just released data revealing that 40.7 million tourists visited Arizona in 2014. And tourism means big bucks for our state – $20.9 billion in direct spending that supports 171,500 jobs.
Whether they are taking an Uber ride to one of our local restaurants or renting a car to drive up to the Grand Canyon, all of these visitors are using our roads and highways at some point during their journey. How easily they can get from one place to another will play into their overall impression of the state. As we saw with the Valley’s successful hosting of the Super Bowl, the impact of a positive image extends beyond the immediate economic activity the game generated. Tourists who have an all-around good travel experience will return again and again. Some of them may even relocate here… or expand their business here. So while our gorgeous resorts and world-class golf courses may be what gets the tourists here in the first place, it is the details that make their stay pleasant and memorable.
Proper investment in maintaining and expanding our road system help to ensure a smooth ride. A well-maintained transportation system that is not clogged with traffic will be one more positive factor leaving a favorable impression of the Grand Canyon State in the minds of visitors.