Business travel to Tucson is rebounding

Busy Fall and Winter expected
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Posted at 7:28 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 00:46:48-04

TUCSON, Ariz (KGUN) — There is some good news to report on a key part of our local economy. Travel and tourism is rebounding and our area has kept the business world interested in bringing conventions here.

Tucson’s scenery and lifestyle has been attracting more leisure travelers for more than three months. Now business travel is reviving too----bringing big business meetings to the large resorts.

“The desire for folks to get out and meet is as strong as we've ever seen it,” says Graeme Hughes, Senior VP for Sales at Visit Tucson, which works to attract leisure and business travelers here.

He says most of the travel promotion industry did not expect the pandemic to last as long as it has.

“But we took a very aggressive approach. We did not shutter our outbound sales operation during the pandemic. We kept our team in place and focused on connecting with their customers and prospects, even though a lot of plans weren't going forward. We kept those lines of communication open.”

Hughes says business meetings did not stop entirely but 281 meetings were canceled from March 2020 to April of this year. He says almost half of those meetings have already committed to come back to Tucson with a busy Fall and Winter ahead. He says in the past month, 21 meeting planners have come to Tucson to consider it for meetings they influence.

Hughes says after COVID made people more sensitive to the space they’re in, Tucson’s outdoors is a strong selling point

“Great access to the outdoors a lot of great outdoor venues and wide open spaces, is one of the taglines we use and it really resonates in today's market.”

And he says Visit Tucson’s sales teams have planned some travel of their own. They have about 50 trips coming up to meet convention planners and convince them Tucson is the right place for their event.