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Published on : Saturday, July 22, 2017
Gila County depends heavily on tourism. Most of the tourist dollars flow into the north end of the county. Travel-based tourism generates $279 million in revenue, providing 3,000 jobs, in the small, rural committee of 52,000. Tourism in the county also generated $8.6 million in local taxes and $12.5 million in state taxes in 2016.
Travel and tourism provides 14 percent of the jobs in Gila County and 9 percent of the total earnings. Statewide, the 43 million overnight visitors to the state set a record and spent $21 billion. That amounts to $58 million per day or about $40,000 per minute. Spending by tourists set an all-time record in 2016.
The state had finally fully recovered from the recession in the past two or three years, especially in rural areas like Gila County. However, despite the strong gains in revenue in the past two or three years from tourism in the county, the number of jobs actually declined slightly. Still, Gila County relied more heavily on tourism than other rural counties throughout the state.
“It was another strong year for tourism in Arizona,” said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “We also saw the positive effects from advertising efforts in our target markets. Research told us we could increase market share in cities like Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco, and that’s just what we did.”