Tourism’s Effect on Pinal County Economy

New numbers show the industry accounts for over a half billion dollars

Newly released numbers from the Arizona Department of Tourism shows that tourists spent over $500 million dollars in Pinal County in 2017.

The study conducted by Dean Runyan Associates, highlighted tourism dollars spent in Arizona and broke them down by county. Pinal County’s economy realized $691.5 million in tourism-related spending.

“I’m very impressed with these statistics,” stated Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Goodman. “I know that tourism is a big contributor to our economy, and these numbers are a welcome sight to anyone who is employed in the industry.”

The study showed that tourism accounts for 6,900 jobs in the county. The vast majority of those come from the accommodation and food service industries (4,500). Arts, entertainment and recreation come in second at 1,400.

Supervisor Pete Rios, whose District 1 includes such tourist destinations as Biosphere 2, the Casa Grande Ruins and the San Pedro River Valley, says that the jobs created by tourism are needed, especially in the eastern section of the county. “This is an area that is desperate for good paying employment. The effect of tourism in the area is something we are celebrating and something we can further promote to bring in even more travelers.”

Breaking down the actual spending in Pinal County, the study showed that retail, along with food and beverage services, brought in the majority of the dollars to the county. Food and Beverage Services were listed at $236.3 million, while retail spending came in at $120.7 million. Accommodation only accounted for ten percent of the $617.4 million spent here.

Looking over the numbers, Pinal County Economic Development Manager Tim Kanavel said there are areas where the county needs to improve. “I love seeing these numbers. We’ve gone from a total impact of $222.2 million in 1998 to over $690 million. But this study shows us we need to focus more on making Pinal County a destination, rather than a place where you visit for a day or so. I think anyone in the hotel sector looking at these numbers will see there is a need for their services here, and we’ll be happy to have them.”

To see the numbers from Dean Runyan Associates, log onto:

Photo above: Events like Apache Junction’s Lost Dutchman Days Rodeo help to drive Pinal County tourism dollars.

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