Harvey Clark, introduced our speaker, Kiva Couchon, the Director of Communications and Public Information Officer for the AZ Department of Tourism. She has been with the Department of Tourism for eight years.


Arizona’s tourism industry is widely recognized as one of the state’s top revenue generators. The AZ Department of Tourism is the only entity that markets AZ as a premier leisure destination.


Arizona's warm weather and magnificent natural beauty makes tourism one of the state's top export industries. In 2013, 33.8 million people visited Arizona. They collectively spent $19.8 billion in the state. The money spent by visitors supports jobs and generates tax revenue. The $2.7 billion in 2013 tax revenue equals an annual tax savings of $1,100 for every Arizona household and supported 163,500 industry jobs.


The tourism industry consistently ranks as either #1 or #2 in GNP output for the state. Attracting visitors to our state, however, has become more challenging as entities become aware of the power of destination marketing, increasing global competition for the tourism dollar. Couchon stated, “We work to promote urban, rural, and tribal tourist destinations to domestic and international audiences and entice them to visit our state. We do this through advertising campaigns, media relations; we talk to journalists, trade industries, tour operators, public relations – and we work with communities to help develop and build attractions.”


Couchon shared samples of national and international advertising campaigns. Right now, the primary target audience is the affluent baby boomers, along with some Gen Xers and Millenials. All campaigns are heavily researched to be sure they are reaching the target audience. The target cities campaign complements the national campaign. This year, the tourism efforts are targeting Chicago and Seattle.


International campaigns are used in Mexico, Canada, Germany, France, UK, Brazil, and China, encouraging them to visit all over the state, not just the metro centers. International visitors tend to stay longer and spend more money. In addition to advertising, the Department of Tourism works with travel journalists to write a variety of stories, which are then published throughout the world. Last year, more than 2000 articles were published, reaching more than nine billion people.


The Arizona Visitors Guide and tourism website provide extensive information, allowing potential visitors to see what the state has to offer. Go to: VisitArizona.com for more information about what to see and do around our state (consumer site). Tourism.az.gov is also available, offering a business-related site with research, marketing plans, media kits, and more