This is how much money the state earned in 2021

This is how much money the state earned in 2021

Arizona tourism isn’t about to break records again. But it gets there.

After the COVID-19 pandemic ended a string of record years for lodging and tourism spending, Arizona recouped much of its pandemic losses in 2021, beating national averages for tourism recovery.

The Arizona Office of Tourism recorded 40.9 million room nights statewide in 2021, up from 32.1 million in 2020, according to new data released July 11. Overnight stays were 87% of pre-pandemic levels; Total attendance in 2019 was 46.8 million, an all-time record.

The variety of experiences possible in Arizona is a key 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 experience based on what they enjoy doing most, she said.

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

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Tourist spending is improving

Travelers will depart their gates at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on November 23, 2021 in Phoenix.

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

Arizona’s tourism spending exceeded that of the country as a whole, which recovered 76% of its 2019 spending.

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

The counties, which 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 2021 in Yavapai County from; Tourist spending in Yavapai rose more than 25% from pre-pandemic levels.

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