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Tucson gaining recognition as a top destination to visit

Posted at 10:26 AM, Jan 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-02 14:17:38-05

Whether it's the sunshine, the cuisine or its rich history and culture, Tucson is considered a hidden gem in the southwest. 

Recently Trip Advisor listed Tucson as a 'top destination on the rise' and National Geographic also named Tucson a 'best winter trip for food.' So, what do these rankings mean for local Tucsonans? 

Michael Varney, President, and CEO of Tucson Metro Chamber suggests that these rankings will hopefully bring more people to Tucson, and in return, boost the economy financially. Varney says, "Anytime you can get somebody who does not live here to pay our taxes locally that's a plus. There's a lot of very good aspects about bringing a lot of people into our community." 

It seems to be the chicken and the egg syndrome. Tax dollars brought in by tourism help grow Tucson's communities, and the communities' growth is fueling tourism.

Dan Gibson, Director of Communications at Visit Tucson is seeing this first hand. "Tucson has changed a lot in the last five years, and downtown's revitalization makes a big difference in that. And, I think that's why things are on the uprise. We're seeing it in the last two years, particularly - 6% growth in our industry last year. This year so far it's been in the 10% range."

While these recent rankings help market and promote Tucson, this recent upswing in tourism may also be due to 2016's launch of non-stop flights between Tucson International Airport and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Varney says, "New York, as far away as it is, is the largest feeder market to Tucson. So, that was the case before we had the non-stop. Now we have the non-stop, so that really has to make a difference in who's coming to our community from that region in the country."

Added tourism dollars, not only help local Tucson businesses prosper, but also help aid in the growth of larger Tucson projects. Hopefully, Tucsonans will continue to reap the economic benefits.