Experience Scottsdale is the official tourism arm of the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. It’s a collection of local business owners and travel professionals whose passion is letting people know about the beauties and attractions of Scottsdale.
On September 27th, the group held its annual meeting at The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch. More than 500 business executives and local dignitaries attended.
The Tourist Who Founded Scottsdale
The history of Scottsdale is rooted in tourism. The community was founded when a man visiting the area, U.S. Army Chaplain Winfield Scott, saw the agricultural potential of the area now known as Old Town.
Scott wasn’t content with settling in the area himself. He encouraged people who knew to come enjoy Scottsdale’s beautiful weather and scenery for themselves. When they came, they brought education and a love of the arts – two things that continue to thrive in modern-day Scottsdale.
Experience Scottsdale President and CEO Rachel Sacco spoke of Scott’s lasting influence, saying:
Here we are today, and people are still coming for our healthy climate – it is a century later after Winfield Scott, and Scottsdale is truly a tourism hub.
While there was a great deal of talk about Scottsdale’s history, the primary focus of the meeting was on the financial impact of tourism in Scottsdale.
Tourism and Taxes
The mission of Experience Scottsdale, according to Sacco, is to “add to the economic base” to help the city thrive. That’s certainly been the case in recent years. Every year since 2015, the amount of bed taxes (a tax charged for hotel rooms) has increased. Here’s how the numbers break down:
- For the fiscal year ending in 2016, the city of Scottsdale collected $17,380,084 in bed tax remits
- For the fiscal year ending in 2017, the city of Scottsdale collected $18,942,068 in bed tax remits
- For the fiscal year ending in 2018, the city of Scottsdale collected $19,834,320 in bed remits
In addition to the money coming from Scottsdale proper, this year the town of Paradise Valley, which falls under Experience Scottsdale’s umbrella, collected $1,311,919 in bed taxes.
The money collected in bed taxes is money that the city can use to make improvements to infrastructure and public spaces. Those things are part of what makes Scottsdale attractive to tourists, so it’s a case of tourist money helping to burnish Scottsdale’s tourist credentials.
Scottsdale’s Larger Role
Roger Dow, who’s the President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, sees Scottsdale’s tourism advantage as something that benefits the entire tourism industry in the United States. “This is the center of the world when it comes to tourism,” he said.
Dow also pointed out that the tourism industry, both in Scottsdale and around the country, has a significant impact that goes beyond the obvious. He encouraged attendees to remember that when talking about the industry.
We need to get the message across: how many teachers, how many firefighters, how many schools… are there because of what we do.
In other words, tourism doesn’t stand apart from other industries that contribute to the economy. It feeds them in ways that we may not always appreciate.
In recent years, Experience Scottsdale’s marketing efforts have shifted from traditional to digital. That’s a trend that’s expected to continue – and it’s already paid off. The Experience Scottsdale website has seen double-digit increases in visitors in each of the past two years.
For Sacco, the real gift is not the dollars that Experience Scottsdale brings into the community, but what can be done with it. “Our united goal is to see our industry and community thrive.” That’s something that anyone who loves Scottsdale can get behind.
We are all a proud part of the Scottsdale community, with facilities in McCormick Ranch, Bell Road, Gray Road and near the Scottsdale Airpark. Check out our Scottsdale relocation guide to learn more about all Scottsdale has to offer.