Route 66 News

Northern Arizona sees a surge in tourism

We’re starting to see a pattern here …

Northern Arizona — namely the city of Flagstaff and surround Coconino County — saw record levels of tourism in 2010, while the rest of the state declined, reported Arizona Public Media. And Route 66 takes part of the credit.

Travelers spent $948 million in Coconino County in 2010, 6.2 percent more than in 2009 and 3 percent more than the previous record year of 2007.

In the same year, statewide travel spending was $17.7 billion, which was 7.3 percent lower than the 2007 record total. […]

Northern Arizona has terrific tourism draws — the Grand Canyon, Route 66, Native American cultures, the cool ponderosa forests and the mountains. So it stands to reason that in the center of it all, Flagstaff draws a lot of tourism activity. But it isn’t just happenstance. The city’s political and business leaders work at it, Mayor Sara Presler said. […]

Flagstaff takes its tourism strategy seriously, and it should. Half of the city’s sales tax revenues come from tourism spending, Presler said. She said she partners with businesses and stays in regular touch with other entities in the northern part of the state, so they can leverage their advantages together.

This isn’t the only place on the Mother Road that’s seeing outsized tourism traffic compared to other nearby areas. Pontiac, Ill., is reporting a 30 percent increase in tourists in 2011, and the Joliet Area Historical Museum in Joliet, Ill., saw a 50 percent increase in 2010-2011. And in 2009, Logan County, Ill., saw a 30 percent increase in tourism revenue. In all of these cases, Route 66 played a prominent role.


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