Numbers show tourism works for Yuma
It may also depend on what industry you are involved in. Some industries are still experiencing the results of a sluggish economy while others have found pockets of opportunity or reinvented themselves to at least survive, if not prosper, over the last few uncertain years.
The Yuma Visitors Bureau has worked very hard over the past year to dispel the myth that Yuma is just a “pass-through” community while traveling to and from Southern California and to tell the well kept secrets of the Yuma community. The efforts are working.
The city of Yuma reported that the 2 percent hospitality tax was up 6.9 percent for the first six months of fiscal year 2011-2012 over the same time the previous year. That is good news, but that is not all.
According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, the December 2011 and year-end lodging occupancy rate for the month was up 11.4 percent over December 2010, and up 14.2 percent for 2011 compared to 2010. Those year-end numbers compare to 4.4 percent for the nation, 5 percent for the mountain region, 3.2 percent for the state of Arizona, 4.4 percent for metro Phoenix, 0.8 percent for metro Tucson and 2.6 for non-metro Arizona overall.
Yuma's occupancy rates were not the only thing that was up, for the 2011 calendar year, Yuma's average daily rate (ADR) was up slightly (0.4 percent) and RevPAR (revenue per available room) was up by 14.7 percent. With no new hotel rooms this year, the growth in room demand, up 14.2 percent, matched the increase in occupancy rates.
Jeanine Rhea, general manager at the Hampton Inn was pleased with her hotel's occupancy rates in 2011 and reported that year-to-date 2012 is up 0.6 percent when compared to the same time in 2011. Her ADR also is up slightly.
“Leisure travel is up slightly and our regional meeting traffic has really picked up lately. Our long-term government guests have also contributed to our increased occupancy,” stated Rhea.
The YVB's successful agritourism season will culminate with Yuma Lettuce Days Festival March 10-11, a celebration of the agriculture industry in Yuma. If you missed the Farmer to Farmer, Field to Feast and Taco Trail tours this year, you will want to make it a point to experience them next year.
The secret of Yuma has been leaked in many media outlets and publications over the past year, including a CBS News feature on the Gathering of the Gunfighters at the Yuma Territorial Prison, LA Times travel feature, 100 Cool Places to Visit in AZ and Arizona Highways, to name a few.
On March 28, YVB will hold its first members' meeting under my leadership. We are committed to providing value to our members and continuing to execute a program that will bring visitors of all kinds to Yuma. The YVB looks forward to fostering a community where all Yumans are in the business of selling Yuma.
Linda Jordan is the executive director of Yuma Visitors Bureau and can be reached at 376-0100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.