Here’s How Big An Economic Impact Phoenix’s 18.2M Visitors Had In 2016

(Source: PhoenixBusinessJournal) By Steven Totten

Phoenix’s visitors had a $6 billion economic impact on the city in 2016, according to the latest data from Visit Phoenix.

The city’s agency that promotes tourism released their 2016 data, which was compiled by Longwoods International and Tourism Economics.

As the city is growing both in population and economically, it’s tourism is growing as well. Last year’s 16.7 million domestic visitors represented a 2.3 percent increase from 2015’s 16.3 million visitors, while the U.S. travel market only saw a 1.1 percent increase in visitors year-over-year. An additional 1.4 million international visitors came to the city in 2016, bringing total visitation to more than 18.2 million.

“It’s like importing the total population of Chicago and Dallas,” said Eric Kerr, director of research and business analysis for Visit Phoenix.

While Texas and Illinois made up 9 percent of Phoenix’s overnight visitors last year, it was Californians and Arizonans who took up the bulk, at 24 percent and 16 percent, respectively.

Visitors spent more than an estimated $3.3 billion while they were in Phoenix, and when that’s tied in with indirect spending, their visitation had almost a $6 billion economic impact. That impacted more than 52,000 jobs, or one in every 11 Phoenix jobs; $916 million in federal, state and local taxes; and shaved off the average Phoenix household tax burden by $843.

People’s top reasons for visiting Phoenix were shopping, fine dining and national/state parks, all of which exceeded national averages — shopping and fine dining declined slightly while visiting national and state parks increased. Visitor satisfaction with Phoenix’s nightlife increased, which could be thanks to the increasing number of music venues, bars and restaurants in Phoenix proper, namely in the downtown area.

“We’re seeing nightlife improve year-over-year,” said Kerr.

Phoenix visitors also spent more nights here than the national average, planned to come further in advance, consist of a larger amount of college graduates, use more trip-planning resources than the national average and are more likely to arrive by plane and use a rental car.