Grupp: Experience Scottsdale promotes new international flight service

Although international tourism is in flux due to geopolitical tensions and the continuing strength of the U.S. dollar, international travelers make up an important part of Scottsdale’s hospitality industry.

Deanne Boynton Grupp

Now, more than ever, it’s essential to spread the message of Scottsdale’s warm weather and warm hospitality around the world. Because of this, Experience Scottsdale is touting new flights to and from Germany and the U.K. to show international leisure travelers that they can travel to Scottsdale with ease.

In 2016, Arizona welcomed nearly 128,000 visitors from Germany and 124,000 visitors from the United Kingdom, according to the Arizona Office of Tourism. On average, Germans stayed more than five nights in Arizona, while U.K. visitors stayed more than seven. Compared to domestic travelers, such visitors tend to stay longer and spend more money in the destination. Plus, they visit during a critical need period in our tourism industry — the summer months when domestic tourism declines due to our triple-digit temperatures.

Throughout the entire year, Experience Scottsdale promotes Scottsdale to travel agents both home and abroad. Last fiscal year, Experience Scottsdale trained more than 500 travel professionals during 23 product training seminars in Germany and the United Kingdom, as well as Belgium, Canada, Mexico, the United States and Switzerland.

During such training seminars, we share information about all of Scottsdale’s opportunities and amenities, including the area’s hotels and resorts, restaurants, shopping, special events, outdoor adventure, arts and culture, and Old Town Scottsdale.

In doing so, we equip travel agents with the tools and knowledge they need to sell Scottsdale vacations. But agents working with European clients can make a more compelling case for Scottsdale when their clients can book convenient air service.

That’s why it is critical for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to offer flights to important international markets. Sky Harbor estimates that current international flight service injects more than $3 billion to the local economy each year. With increased air service, Phoenix and Scottsdale have even more opportunity to attract overseas visitors.

Later this month, Condor Airlines is launching its new nonstop service between Sky Harbor and Frankfurt, Germany. The flight, which is Arizona’s only nonstop offering to and from Germany, will operate Mondays and Fridays through September.

Local tourism bureaus and destination marketing organizations saw the value in this addition to Sky Harbor, because Condor has the potential to bring more Germans to Arizona. The Arizona Office of Tourism and Experience Scottsdale – along with other local destination marketing organizations from Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and Glendale – financially supported efforts to market the airline’s new flight to potential visitors in Germany.

The marketing campaign spanned January through April, with digital boards and videos showcasing Arizona throughout Frankfurt and Hesse, as well as ads on social media platforms, on online travel agency websites, and in German publications like Die Welt and Abenteuer und Reisen.

Beyond Germany, Arizona also has the chance to capture more U.K. travelers with the return of British Airway’s seasonal nonstop service. Last year, British Airways expanded its daily service from London Heathrow Airport to Sky Harbor with a second nonstop flight that operated Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays May through October.

Due to its success, the seasonal service will be offered again this summer. Between these two seasonal flights and Experience Scottsdale’s year-round efforts to promote Scottsdale around the globe, we hope to see even more international travelers exploring Scottsdale in the near future.

Editor’s note: Ms. Boynton Grupp is the vice president of tourism at Experience Scottsdale.

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