Heaton: Retaining our world-class reputation in Scottsdale

A first impression can make or break you.

Doug Heaton

It’s often through tourism that people first experience Scottsdale. Our visitors contribute to a $2.4 billion industry as they come to enjoy special events, visit friends and family, or attend a conference or convention.

A tourist’s first impression of Scottsdale could secure a repeat visitor who returns year after year, a new permanent or seasonal resident who contributes to the tax base, or even a new corporate headquarters that employs hundreds in the community. Through tourism, we’re creating forever fans who tell their friends, family members and colleagues about the wonders of Scottsdale.

Of course, all of that depends on whether Scottsdale has made a good first impression.

Experience Scottsdale’s board members represent both big and small hospitality businesses in our community, from major shopping centers and golf courses to arts and culture attractions and boutique hotels. We also represent various aspects of the business community, including real estate, health care, technology and transportation.

— Doug Heaton, Experience Scottsdale board of directors

Because we work directly in or with the tourism industry, we view our community through the eyes of our visitors. Fortunately, that means we’re reminded daily about our clear, blue skies; our clean, safe streets; our soaring mountain vistas; and our variety of amenities available within minutes of one another.

And, because we see Scottsdale through the eyes of travelers, we know just how rare it is to find all these qualities in one place. If you’ve lived elsewhere or traveled to another destination, we’re sure you can attest the same: Scottsdale has a distinctly unique quality of life unlike anywhere else.

These qualities — safety, clean streets, beautiful public spaces — factor into that important first impression. They enhance our visitors’ experiences along with our own daily lives. But they also require continued investment and maintenance. Experience Scottsdale’s board members believe it is critical to invest in the community to ensure the best possible first impression — to maintain and retain our world-class reputation.

In our respective businesses, we continually invest in upkeep and renovations to meet the needs of our customers and to edge out the competition. The same is true for our city.

To meet the current and future demands of all who spend time living, visiting, working, playing and learning in our community, we must invest in our city’s infrastructure.

Think of the impression Scottsdale Civic Center, one of our city’s most important public spaces, will make upon further improvement. Consider how residents and visitors alike will view Old Town Scottsdale as upgraded streets and parking allow them to more easily explore the area’s shops, restaurants, museums and events. Imagine how visiting C-level executives and corporate site selectors will view a community that strategically invests in new technology and police and fire to ensure a safe and secure environment.

— Doug Heaton, Experience Scottsdale board of directors

These projects and others are all within reach. Such investments will ensure that Scottsdale continues to be viewed as a desirable place to visit, live and work – and that it impresses our visitors, residents and employers for years to come.

Editor’s note: Mr. Heaton is the board chair of Experience Scottsdale, which establishes Scottsdale as a year-round, luxury travel destination

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