By Stacy Lloyd, Class 28
Lloyd Media Group
If you’re going to talk about the economy and tourism, you can’t ask for a better venue than the Phoenician’s J&G Steakhouse.
During last week’s Dining with Friends Alumni Event, we enjoyed both gorgeous views overlooking the Valley and a delicious three-course meal. Let’s just say the potato gratin had me (and everyone else at the table) at the first bite.
Tourism is a top employer in Scottsdale. But will it remain that way? Will tourists continue to spend money visiting Scottsdale?
Our featured speaker, Rachel Sacco, President and CEO of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (SCVB) addressed those questions and shared how Scottsdale’s tourism industry has rebounded since the 2008 economic crisis.
“In 2007, we were flying high,” Sacco said. “Then the recession hit; and hit hard; taking out everything. Now in 2013, we’re still struggling to come back. We’re slowing making our way back up.”
She described how SCVB took control of its destiny; namely through encouraging the passage of Proposition 200’s higher bed tax. Bed tax is collected by Scottsdale resorts and hotels and passed along to the city and SCVB.
One half of this bed-tax revenue is allocated for tourism-related capital projects, special events and some even goes to the general fund to support resident services.
Some of those tourism-related projects include expansion of the Tony Nelssen Equestrian Center at West World, the Desert Discovery Center and the Scottsdale Museum of the West.
Passage of Proposition 200 also provided the SCVB with dedicated annual funding for the first time in its history. SCVB receives 50 percent of the bed tax revenue. This money is earmarked for SCVB to market Scottsdale as a world-class vacation and meeting destination location.
Sacco said one way SCVB does that is by promoting Scottsdale as a warm-weather destination for folks in cold-weather markets.
SCVB is planning a similar campaign like it did last year. It wrapped York City subway trains with giant images showing off Scottsdale’s enviable tourism assets: the Sonoran Desert, the Old West heritage, spas and golf. Each wrap has a web address so riders can learn more about Scottsdale.
Another SCVB plan is to showcasing Scottsdale to people in Chicago, Denver and Canada via Weather.com, boasting our high temperatures and sunshine.
Folks at the Grove, a luxury shopping mall in Los Angeles are also on SCVB’s list. Every day thousands of affluent consumers will see beautiful images of Scottsdale and hopefully be enticed to select our city for their next vacation.
Of course, it isn’t certain if these measures will work. I will say, if I was freezing in below zero temps and saw an ad for sunny Scottsdale; that alone would make me hop a plane for Arizona.
What do you think? Will these promotion efforts work? Is the upswing in Scottsdale tourism here to stay?