Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism

It’s that time of year again, where professionals in the Arizona travel and tourism industry get together to network, learn and celebrate successes of the past year. The Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism was hosted by the JW Marriot Camelback in Scottsdale and there was a lot to celebrate!

I’m excited to announce that my book project, Day Hikes on the Arizona National Scenic Trail, will be supported in part by the Arizona Office of Tourism, and I will be doing a series of articles, social media posts, and presentations for AOT while I am doing the research for the book. I’ll be sharing tips on the best places and seasons to experience the Arizona Trail and its Gateway Communities in advance of the book’s publication by Wilderness Press in Spring 2020. A Grand Canyon-sized thank you to AOT for this collaboration!

Sirena with Arizona Office of Tourism Executive Director Debbie Johnson

Another thing to celebrate was record numbers in 2017. Research done by the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT), showed that American and foreign visitors collectively spent $22.7 billion and directly supported 187,000 jobs with 43.9 million overnight stays. For more information, check out this article on azcentral.com

My favorite stats of the opening presentation were reported by Colleen Floyd, director of research at AOT:

“Marketable trips to Arizona are far more likely to go camping, hiking or backpacking and visit our National and State Parks. So they really appreciate and take advantage of our amazing outdoor activities.”

According to the 2017 Outdoor Industry’s Outdoor Recreation Economy Report, outdoor recreation generates 21.2 billion dollars in revenue for the state of Arizona and we can only expect those numbers to go up in subsequent studies due to increased visitation.

The breakout sessions were a great way to learn more about the different facets of tourism. I was a panelist on a session called “Put Tourists on Your Trail: How to Develop Outdoor Adventure Concepts That Appeal to Niche Visitors” with Maya Azzi from Local First Arizona and Andrew Grossman from Travel Oregon. We had a great turnout and I spoke about the economic and health benefits of trails as well as my Tusayan Community Trails project.

 Keynote speaker Kelly McDonald was entertaining and informative, sharing tactics to increase communication across diverse audiences.

 I also attended a session about National and State Parks and got to see Chris Lenhertz, Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent, speak about the different programs under the National Park Service. She’s a dynamic person known as “Super Chris”. She and the Park have been a great supporter of Trails Inspire and our Tusayan project.

Governor Doug Ducey made an appearance and shared his story about how he came to Arizona.

IMG_2939
Photo courtesy of Arizona Office of Tourism

It was wonderful to see old friends and make new connections. One of the highlights was seeing beloved Arizona author Roger Naylor accept the Lifetime Achievement Award. He had no idea he was going to be honored at the event and gave a wonderful acceptance speech! I got to talk trails with him afterward and swap stories.

 

Governor Doug Ducey made an appearance and shared his story about how he came to Arizona.
It was wonderful to see old friends and make new connections. One of the highlights was seeing beloved Arizona author Roger Naylor accept the Lifetime Achievement Award. He had no idea he was going to be honored at the event and gave a wonderful acceptance speech! I got to talk trails with him afterward and swap stories.

 

  

Super Chris!

Governor Doug Ducey made an appearance and shared his story about how he came to Arizona.IMG_2939
It was wonderful to see old friends and make new connections. One of the highlights was seeing beloved Arizona author Roger Naylor accept the Lifetime Achievement Award. He had no idea he was going to be honored at the event and gave a wonderful acceptance speech! I got to talk trails with him afterward and swap stories.

The following day, there was a panel discussion on international engagement, featuring the specialists from Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, and China.
Next, I will be attending Outdoor Retailer in Denver, Colorado and I am looking forward to meeting with my publisher and attending the talks and workshops. I will also be a panelist on Monday the 23rd at 10 am on the 50th Anniversary of the National Scenic Trails Act. Big thanks to Gossamer Gear for supporting my trip to Denver! I will be researching an article about the Spark 2020 event and others having to do with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Here’s the description for Spark 2020, looking forward to it:

“The 2020 Leadership Retreat will bring together stakeholders of the Outdoor Diversity, Equity and Inclusion community to connect, network and share their resources. Providing an intentional space for those engaging in DEI work creates an incredible opportunity to continue to cultivate a common narrative on collective liberation within the outdoors.”

If you’d like to connect with me at Outdoor Retailer, please send a message to sirena@trailsinspire.com.


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