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Supervisors laud Visit Tucson for makeover, outreach to expand tourism

Nov 05, 2013 | Read More News
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Three years after a critical performance audit by Pima County, a rebranded Visit Tucson is on the right track, Pima County Supervisors agreed Tuesday. none

A comprehensive rebranding initiative will pitch “Free Yourself” to out-of-town visitors looking to escape from daily reality to a place with open spaces, outdoor activities, world-class attractions, stellar resorts, enticing food and unique culture, said Visit Tucson’s Chief Executive Office Brent DeRaad.

DeRaad said the agency has strengthened outreach to the Mexican travel market. It also hopes to capitalize on the sports market, including cycling and soccer, and is working to identify incentives to lure more film opportunities.

With an investment of roughly $3.2 million, paid for by bed taxes assessed on hotel rooms, Pima County provides over half of the agency’s funding. The agency’s revenue is expected to grow this year from $6.4 million to upward of $7 million, DeRaad said.

DeRaad estimated that for every $1 invested in Visit Tucson, the agency delivered nearly $33 in economic impact, including leisure travel, conventions, sports travel and film. The agency is responsible for marketing County-owned and leased attractions, such as Kino Sports Complex, Old Tucson Studios and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller lauded the agency’s new mobile website, saying Visit Tucson was ahead of the curve, while Supervisor Richard Elías complimented its work with Mexico and sports tourism.

“I think we’re all in agreement that Visit Tucson has taken the next big leap,” said Supervisor Sharon Bronson. “We’re hoping for some great things in this coming year.”