Study: Tourists spent nearly $700 million in Pinal County in 2017

Newly released numbers from the Arizona Department of Tourism show that tourists spent more than $690 million in Pinal County in 2017.

The study, conducted by Dean Runyan Associates, highlighted tourism dollars spent in Arizona and broke them down by county. Pinal County’s economy realized $691.5 million in tourism related spending, according to a release.

“I’m very impressed with these statistics,” Pinal County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mike Goodman said in the release. “I know that tourism is a big contributor to our economy, and these numbers are a welcome sight to anyone who is employed in the industry.”

The study showed that tourism accounts for 6,900 jobs in the county. The vast majority of those come from the accommodation and food service industry (4,500). Arts, entertainment and recreation come in second at 1,400.

Supervisor Pete Rios, whose District 1 includes such tourist destinations as Biosphere 2, the Casa Grande Ruins and the San Pedro River Valley, says that the jobs created by tourism are needed, especially in the eastern section of the county.

“This is an area that is desperate for good paying employment,” the supervisor said in the release. “The effect of tourism in the area is something we are celebrating and something we can further promote to bring in even more travelers.”

Breaking down the actual spending in Pinal County, the study showed that retail along with food and beverage services brought in the majority of the dollars to the county. Food and beverage services were listed at $236.3 million while retail spending came in at $120.7 million. Accommodation only accounted for 10 percent of the amount spent here, according to the release.

Looking over the numbers, Pinal County Economic Development Manager Tim Kanavel said there are areas where the county needs to improve.

“I love seeing these numbers,”Mt.  Kanavel said in the release. “We’ve gone from a total impact of $222.2 million in 1998 to over $690 million. But this study shows us we need to focus more on making Pinal County a destination rather than a place where you visit for a day or so. I think anyone in the hotel sector looking at these numbers will see there is a need for their services here and we’ll be happy to have them.”

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