Valley leaders discuss unity in tourism dollars competition - East Valley Tribune: Business

Valley leaders discuss unity in tourism dollars competition

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Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2006 6:31 am | Updated: 3:00 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Mesa tourism leaders are working with a carrier interested in generating regular air service between Williams Gateway Airport and Chicago.

Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross said the soon-to-beexpansive accessibility of the McDowell Mountains, “will be one of the biggest tourist attractions in the Southwest.”

And Arizona State University’s sprawl into other cities is good for its home base, Tempe, said Mayor Hugh Hallman. Just like Google’s new Tempe home will benefit the whole Valley’s business tourism industry, he said.

“It matters less exactly where Google landed, than that it landed in this region,” Hallman said.

City leaders gave their annual take on the current and future of the local tourism industry to Valley Hotel & Resort Association members Wednesday at Sanctuary Resort in Paradise Valley.

The common theme among the Valley leaders was that the real competition for tourism dollars is across the country and across the world, not across town.

And only by marketing the Valley as a united destination can they win the coveted travelers.

“We’re successful because all the cities are working together,” Manross said.

Claudia Walters, Mesa vice mayor, said Phoenix’s buy-in to Williams Gateway helped spur interest in a Mesa-Chicago air route.

Papago Park, which sprawls around the intersection of Tempe, Phoenix and Scottsdale, could be an attraction comparable to Balboa Park, San Diego’s hugely popular outdoor playground, Hallman said.

And Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said he’s hoping to unite all the city leaders to fight against the legislative budget proposal that would cut taxes — and ultimately shared revenue for cities.

Gordon offered up his regional draw, the underconstruction expansion of Civic Center, as the key to 1.5 million in pre-booked room nights and $13 billion in tourist spending.

Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs, a first-timer in the annual city leader roundup, had the most new tourism draws to tout.

“We’ve been helping all of you boost your occupancy, ” she told Phoenix and East Valley hoteliers. “We only have 317 hotel rooms.”

But as far as attractions are concerned, the city boasts some big ones. Glendale arena, in its first year of operation, ranked 54th worldwide in tickets sold for nonsporting events.

“These are people coming from all over the country,” she said.

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