Community Update


Scottsdale traditionally welcomes 1.7 million international visitors annually.


Recent surveys show that travelers are eager to hit the road this holiday season. Visiting friends and family is among the top reasons for people to travel within the U.S., and according to Longwoods International, seven in 10 U.S. travelers intend to spend the holidays with their friends and family this year. Leisure travel continues to be a driving force in the U.S. tourism industry’s recovery, and nine in 10 U.S. travelers have travel plans over the next six months, also according to Longwoods International. Occupancy rates at Scottsdale-area hotels and resorts hit 64% in October, 7 percentage points shy from that October 2019. With international travelers able to enter the U.S. again, leisure travel, both domestic and international, will remain vital in the months ahead.


Though many of us travel during the busy holiday season, traditionally, Scottsdale’s hospitality businesses have seen a decline in business during the months of November and December. That started to change in 2012 when Experience Scottsdale launched our first seasonal campaign to convince travelers to book holiday getaways in Scottsdale. Throughout the years, as Scottsdale hotels and attractions have bolstered their winter programming, Experience Scottsdale has continued to spread the city’s holiday cheer. In those first eight years of the campaign, Scottsdale-area hotels saw an increase in bookings during November and December, with occupancy rates climbing 23% on average. Though Scottsdale saw an anticipated decline in visitation last year, page views to Experience Scottsdale’s holiday microsite,, increased 16% from the year prior. Knowing that leisure visitors continued showing interest in Scottsdale as a holiday destination amid the pandemic, we resumed our campaign this year to promote Scottsdale’s seasonal offerings in more than two dozen drive and fly markets. Through such seasonal promotions, Scottsdale’s tourism industry hopes to continue welcoming more travelers during this need period, helping ensure tourism brings year-round benefits to the community.


With the supply chain on the fritz, last-minute holiday shoppers may be scrambling to find the perfect gifts for their loved ones. Fortunately, Experience Scottsdale and the city of Scottsdale have the solution – make that 11 solutions. Last month, we launched the Exceptionally Scottsdale Collection, expertly curated experiences available for visitors and locals to purchase. From the genius of Frank Lloyd Wright and the flavors of Arizona wines to the region’s unique history and vibrant Native American cultures, these immersive tours, tastings and workshops will give you unparalleled access to 11 local businesses and attractions. Creating destination experiences has long been part of the city’s tourism strategic plan. Year after year, consultants have hammered the importance of creating authentic experiences for our destination, while consumer surveys have shown travelers’ needs were evolving, with more seeking out unique offerings. Experience Scottsdale and the city of Scottsdale joined forces – combining our investment, time and resources – to finally put this strategic vision into action. For the Exceptionally Scottsdale Collection, we opened the application to any Scottsdale business. The participating businesses range in size and represent different sectors of the tourism industry, from independently owned Old Town Scottsdale businesses like French Designer Jeweler and LDV Winery to cultural institutions like Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Each business spent eight months working in partnership with the city, Experience Scottsdale and a national consultant to design, develop and promote new offerings. Perhaps you’ll consider gifting these distinctly Scottsdale experiences to your family and friends this season. Visit to learn about all the opportunities available.

When international travel restrictions lifted on Nov. 8, airports around the country were filled with long-awaited arrivals and happy, tearful reunions. For the first time in 604 days, international travelers from 33 overseas countries were allowed to enter the U.S., while people from Mexico and Canada were allowed to cross the borders for nonessential travel. International travelers are vitally important to the national tourism industry as they tend to stay longer and spend more than their U.S. counterparts. In 2019, Scottsdale welcomed 1.7 million international visitors who accounted for 15% of total visitor spending in the city. Even as cities around the country vie for these impactful visitors, Scottsdale is prepared to welcome them back to our community. Throughout the pandemic, Experience Scottsdale stayed connected with travel advisors and tour operators from 40 countries, ensuring they were ready to sell Scottsdale vacations and product to their clients. Last fiscal year, Experience Scottsdale also secured over 200 articles in U.K. and German-language publications, keeping readers in two of Scottsdale’s most important overseas markets inspired about future Scottsdale vacations. Experience Scottsdale continues to reach international media and travel professionals. And next month, we’ll launch our Loonie Love campaign, enticing Canadians to spend their dollars – or “loonies” – in Scottsdale this winter and spring. Experience Scottsdale will promote offers and packages at area resorts, hotels, businesses and attractions geared toward Canadian travelers.