Pima County tourism has seen a strong rebound in 2021

Tourism in Pima County has seen a strong rebound in the past year.

A report from the Visit Tucson tourism bureau indicates that money spent by travelers in Pima County last year increased 77% over 2020.

Visit Tucson CEO Felipe Garcia said one thing that might have helped was how his organization changed its advertising messaging during the height of the pandemic.

“We were telling people that maybe it’s not a good time to travel, but when it’s safe and you feel good, come to Tucson and we have these open spaces. You can see blue skies and hike our trails and you will be safe because I can be outdoors.”

Despite the increase in dollars spent by tourists, Garcia says some challenges remain.

Air travel continued to decline in 2021, with revenues down nearly 15%. Garcia said that appears to be due to a decrease in the number of flights and seats entering Tucson International Airport.

Many companies in the service sector are struggling to find staff.

“Some hotels have told us, ‘we’re not fully open because we don’t have the staff we need, so maybe we have ten rooms that are still offline because we don’t have the staff. staff to look after them,'” García said.

But he added the tide could be reversing, noting that he has recently heard restaurant owners say they are seeing an increase in people with experience in the industry applying for jobs.

About Jonathan J. Kramer

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