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  • Tourism growing thanks to federal designation

    By Diane Frisch
    Director, Pima County Attractions and Tourism

    Pima County continues to enjoy increased tourism as visitors discover all our region has to offer.  Some of our highlights include: Diane Frisch
    • Attendance at the Festival del Chef Sonora, a celebration of Mexican gastronomy hosted by the GANFER Foundation at the Parque La Ruina in Hermosillo, Sonora.  This year’s festival highlighted Tucson’s inclusion in the Délice Network, a professional network dedicated to helping cities use gastronomy as a tool for urban development. The festival also celebrated Tucson’s status as the first UNSECO city of Gastronomy in the U.S.
    • Tucson will be featured in a new BBC series, Tom Kerridge’s America, focused on foodie travel. Kerridge is a UK- based chef with two Michelin stars who will showcase destinations across the country through their chefs, artisans, restaurants, markets and gardens. (The Michelin series awards one to three stars to restaurants they perceive to be of high culinary merit. One star indicates a "very good restaurant"; two stars indicate a place "worth a detour"; three stars means "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.”)
    • Film Tucson continues to bring attention to Pima County with MTV’s reality series BORDER LIFE filming throughout Pima and Santa Cruz counties. To date, the project has generated 1,869 room nights at area hotels and resorts.
    • Cameras have begun to roll on the first episode of HIGH FLYERS, a Dutch TV series that is about fighter pilots in training, much of which takes place on the Air National Guard Base in Tucson.  
    • Also, look for the 28th annual Arizona International Film Festival, April 10-21. Five Tucson Festivals take part in this program including Tucson Cine Mexico.

    The future looks very bright for the Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area

    On March 12, President Trump signed into law a sweeping public lands package (S.47) that includes designation of the Santa Cruz Valley Heritage Alliance.

    The area encompasses the watershed of the Santa Cruz River, from Nogales and Patagonia, to Tucson, Marana and Oro Valley.  Pima County and our partner Visit Tucson will leverage this national designation by promoting suggested itineraries that tell the story of the National Heritage Area, and collaborating with tour operators to continue to bring Heritage area mapadditional national and international media and visitors to our region.

    The push for this designation didn’t happen overnight. These efforts began in 2003. With the help of many dedicated people, it turned into broad, bipartisan support by every local government in the region: Visit Tucson, the Arizona Office of Tourism, Tucson Regional Economic Opportunities, (now Sun Corridor, Inc.) various chambers of commerce, Southern Arizona Home Builders Association, every state and state park and land manager in the region, museums and historical societies, non-profits organizations, ranchers and farmers and many more.

    In fact, we'll be celebrating the designation with Congressman Raúl Grijalva, who was instrumental in supporting the National Heritage Area, on May 4, from 9 to 10 a.m., at Historic Canoa Ranch.

    Look for continued updates Santa Cruz Valley National Heritage Area as we develop more tourism tools.

    Kettle corn, here we come!

    The Pima County Fair opens April 18 and continues through April 28. This year’s concert lineup includes Shaggy, Seether, TLC, and Carly Pearce.

    Fair Hours 
    Weekdays: Gates open 2 p.m. 
    Weekends: Gates pen 10 a.m. 

    Carnival Hours 
    Weekdays: Opens 3 p.m. 
    Weekends: Opens 11 a.m. 

    General Admission: $9 * Youth 6-10: $5 * Military $5 *Children 5 & Under: FREE * Parking $5
    FRY’S pre-sale happening until April 18. Get 10 rides for only $15. The offer is good Monday – Friday only. 

    Be safe

    Our springtime weather should be ideal for hiking and biking.  Remember to be safe and carry water, sunscreen and let others know your destination and expected return time.

    To learn more about the latest happenings across Pima County, give our new Pima County Attractions & Tourism Facebook page a Like.
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    Communications Office

    201 N. Stone Ave., 2nd Floor
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    (520) 724-9999

    Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - noon and 1 - 5 p.m., except on holidays.


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