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Tue, Oct. 22

Yavapai County Economy: 'Tis the Season of Tourism

Tourism is undoubtedly an important element of the economic engine in Yavapai County, but let's take a closer look at the details which make this rural export so meaningful. "According to the Arizona of Tourism 1998-2013 Arizona Travel Impact report produced by Dean Runyan Associates, it is estimated that Yavapai County received $710,900,000 in direct expenditures from tourist activity in 2013."

"The report approximates that this direct spending breaks down in to the following categories: $131.1 million spent in accommodations, $132.5 million in food service, $45.4 mill in food stores, $83.3 mill in local transportation and gas, $171.1 mill in spending on arts, entertainment and recreation, $83 mill in retail sales, and $1 mill in air travel spending. The remaining $63.5 million is consists of spending that occurs through "other travel," those expenditures due to people passing through town.

The economic impact of these expenditures ripple through the Yavapai economy across four subsectors of tourism and is accounted for economically in terms of increased output/sales and job quantity.

For 2013, the indirect and induced economic impact of industry earnings and employment generated by travel spending is estimated at the following totals: Accommodation & Food Service $94 million and 3,590 jobs; Arts/Entertainment/Recreation $61.4 mill and 3,260 jobs; Retail $17.1 mill and 660 jobs; Visitor Air Transportation $300,000 and 10 jobs.

Since 2004, direct visitor spending in Yavapai County has increased by 39.2%.

Keeping in mind that more than half of the enterprises that comprise these sectors are independent small businesses, this data shows a promising future for our local entrepreneurs. Tourism spells small business in Yavapai County, and with the increasing momentum of travelers looking for natural, heritage, and locally flavored experiences, support of our local entrepreneurs in that much more important for our regional economy.

Alexandria M. Wright is the director of the Yavapai College Regional Economic Development Center, which provides analysis and services that facilitate economic development throughout Yavapai County and build wealth in our local communities.

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