Sacco: Experience Scottsdale celebrates National Travel & Tourism Week May 6-12

Thirty-five years ago, Congress established National Travel & Tourism Week — a weeklong celebration of the contributions and accomplishments of the U.S. travel community.

Rachel Sacco

Each year, during the first full week of May, travel professionals across the nation trumpet the value tourism holds for our economy, our businesses and our personal well-being.

That value is evident here in Scottsdale. Tourism has been a tradition in Scottsdale for more than a century. And, it’s a tradition that lives on as the city welcomes nearly 9 million annual U.S. visitors who leave behind an economic impact of $2.3 billion, according to Applied Economics.

In the spirit of this year’s National Travel & Tourism Week theme — “Travel Then and Now” — let’s take a look back at what tourism has meant for Scottsdale over the years.

  • In the late 1800s, people traveled great distances to experience the Sonoran Desert’s healing climate, establishing Scottsdale as a wellness community. Home to more than 50 resort and day spas, Scottsdale is still considered a destination for rest and relaxation. And those spas pay homage to Scottsdale’s roots, offering treatments that incorporate ingredients indigenous to the desert.
  • In 1957, Paul Galvin moved his company, Motorola, from Phoenix to Scottsdale, paving the way for more technology companies to move to the city. Galvin first brought Motorola to Arizona after frequently vacationing in the Scottsdale area, and, according to Scottsdale historian Joan Fudala, his transitioning employees kept Hotel Valley Ho afloat its first summer.
  • In 1977, hoteliers urged the city of Scottsdale to levy a bed tax so that visitor dollars could fund improvements to a deteriorating Scottsdale Stadium. Today, the San Francisco Giants call Scottsdale their spring training home, bringing thousands of fans to the city each spring.
  • In 1986, Scottsdale leaders championed the construction of the Stadium Course at TPC Scottsdale, which now hosts the largest golf tournament in the world, the Waste Management Phoenix Open. “The Greatest Show on Grass” is attended annually by more than half a million people.
  • In 2010, Scottsdale’s tourism industry championed increasing the bed tax. In recent years, bed-tax dollars have supported capital projects like Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, which brought a Smithsonian affiliate to the heart of Old Town Scottsdale.

Because of Scottsdale’s tourism industry, residents and visitors alike enjoy world-class amenities, including museums, art galleries, resorts, golf courses and restaurants. All those resorts and businesses employ thousands of people in Scottsdale with one in 10 jobs directly related to tourism. And all those visitor dollars spent at businesses help alleviate the tax burden on residents.

These are just some of the feats of Scottsdale’s tourism industry. I hope you’ll join us in celebrating these and more during National Travel & Tourism Week May 6-12.

Editor’s note: Ms. Sacco is the president and CEO of Experience Scottsdale

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