YUMA, ARIZ. — Total direct travel spending in Yuma County totaled $667.0 million in 2019, up 2.5% over the previous year. The impressive figure is part of an extensive report, which was released today by Dean Runyan Associates, on the economic impact that travel and tourism have throughout Arizona.

The virtual Governor's Conference on Tourism's theme this year showed how well Arizona, including Yuma, have done during this past decade, with ten years of increases. Prepared for the Arizona Office of Tourism, the Dean Runyan Associates report shows travelers spent $25.6 billion throughout Arizona in 2019, a record-breaking increase of 4.7%. In addition to direct spending, the study tracks the impact of travel and tourism on multiple economic categories including earnings, employment and tax receipts.

According to the report, Yuma experienced increases in expenditures on hotel and motel stays. In Yuma County, visitor spending at hotels/motels rose almost 3.2% over 2019, totaling $171.4 million. Likewise, travel spending increased on commodities including food, gas, arts and entertainment, retail sales, and air travel, collectively showing nearly an 11% rise over the previous year. 

“Yuma County has come through the pandemic as well or better than most other Arizona counties at this time,” said Linda Morgan, Executive Director of Visit Yuma, “It’s was one of the best years ever, after nearly ten years of growth. We were on such a roll, then we came to a screeching halt in March. We are rebounding pretty well. Hotel occupancy and average daily rates (ADR) have maintained steady increases since early April, and we are not fairing as poorly as other communities around the nation.”

In addition to direct spending, jobs generated by travel spending in Yuma County grew to a high of 6,930 in 2019, an increase of 12% from the previous year. That amounts to 7.6% of all jobs in Yuma County. This 12% increase from 2019 was the highest increase of tourism jobs of any county in the state. Next closest was Santa Cruz County, with an increase of 4.6%.

Tourism in Yuma County generated $55 million in state and local tax revenue.This combined tax revenue reduced the tax burden for each Yuma County household by $780. Local tax receipts generated by travel spending totaled $24.6 million, up 5.1%. "Tourism is so important to our community since it creates jobs and tax revenues," said Morgan.

"The big take away is what we saw coming, that new studies on travel consumer sentiment show that our visitors in the coming year will be predominantly from throughout Arizona and our region," said Linda Morgan, Executive Director of Visit Yuma. According to Longwoods International and Miles Partnership, the largest segment of visitors coming to Arizona will be Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFRs), and that 71% of our regional travelers will arrive by car. "Arizona scored really high in two areas that we all know we're great at delivering: touring by vehicle and outdoor adventures. Yuma is poised perfectly to help visitors enjoy these aspects in our corner of the state!"

Also of specific interest to Yuma County is a study on visitation by travelers from Mexico. The study was curtailed before its end, due to Covid-19, but it pointed to spending of $3.5 billion on travel to Arizona. A breakdown by port of entry is forthcoming in the near future.

Yuma residents may find out more about Yuma's attractions, activities and natural adventures at VisitYuma.com, This fall, Visit Yuma's administrative offices and Visitor Information Center will move downtown to 264 S. Main St. "We are excited to bring together the full force of Visit Yuma's great staff in one location, to serve visitors both in person and through our marketing online, too," said Morgan.