Kingman Gets Healthy Slice of Tourism Pie

Visitors spent $164.6 million here in 2010

JC AMBERLYN/Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Volunteer Ken Mathews is pictured giving directions to tourists at the Kingman Powerhouse in 2008.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

JC AMBERLYN/Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Volunteer Ken Mathews is pictured giving directions to tourists at the Kingman Powerhouse in 2008.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

KINGMAN - With the Arizona Office of Tourism releasing its 2010 economic impact of tourism numbers last week, it's time to look at Kingman's slice of tourism pie.

State numbers are based on several surveys conducted through the state office of tourism in 2010 while the Kingman comparisons were generated by a survey conducted by Northern Arizona University Hospitality Research between Feb. 2010 and Jan. 2011. Many of the figures are based on extrapolation as well.

In 2010, Arizona visitors spent $17.7 billion, which raised nearly $2.5 billion in tax revenue. During a similar time span, Kingman visitors spent $164.6 million. In Mohave County, the state, city and county visitor tax revenue collected was $21.2 million.

Half of Kingman's bed tax - 2 percent - goes to the Tourism Development Commission, and it generated $363,331 in 2010 compared to $350,331 in 2009, a 3.7-percent increase, Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism Director Joshua Noble explained.

According to the research firm Dean Runyan Associates, "The travel industry generated $1,040 in local, state and federal tax receipts for each Arizona household."

Noble said that number is a pretty good share of the tax burden Arizonans carry.

Also, Kingman's direct spending share was 0.93 percent, meaning nearly a dollar of every $100 spent by tourists in the state was spent in Kingman, Noble said.

One area where the state experienced decline was visitation employment, which is mostly made up of hospitality-based jobs such as hotels, restaurants, specialty shops and even gas stations. In Arizona, there were over 150,000 people employed in the tourism industry - a 2.5-percent decline - and they made a collective $4.7 billion in 2010. That's an average of $30,880 per year per employee. In Kingman, however, there were 2,134 people employed in the tourism industry, and they earned a collective $46.2 million, which averages out to $21,555 per employee per year.

Noble said this shows that tourism-based employers continue to hold off on hiring. This is one area, tourism-wise, that hasn't rebounded, he added.

Now, let's get into the visitors.

Over 2.3 million people visited Kingman during the span of the NAU survey while 36.9 million visited Arizona in 2010, meaning 6.41 percent of all state visitors came to Kingman. Of those 2.3 million, 2.08 million stayed overnight and 655,374 were international travelers. That means that 27 percent of Kingman visitors do not call America home. In comparison, there were 4.7 million international visitors to the state in 2010, which is a smidge over 12 percent.

This is important, Noble said, because international visitors tend to spend more than domestic tourists. Their vacation schedules tend to be more flexible because they often wait to get here before deciding exactly what they want to do, he said. On the other hand, domestic visitors tend to have rigid schedules and know exactly what they want to do. Americans traveling overseas most likely enjoy the flexible schedules of their counterparts visiting the U.S., Noble said.

"Travel and tourism is one of the most important 'export-oriented' industries in Arizona. Spending by visitors generates sales in lodging, food services, recreation, transportation and retail businesses," according to Dean Runyan Associates. "These sales support jobs for Arizona residents and contribute tax revenue to local and state governments. Travel is especially important in the non-metropolitan areas of the state, where manufacturing and trade services are less prevalent."

Without the tourism industry, Kingman would not be the same town, Noble said, and "we would need an entire different industry" to fill the void.

Tourism has shaped many parts of town, making it interesting and friendly, Noble said. Without it, Kingman would be much more closed off and less welcoming, he added.

There is plenty room for growth, but that depends a lot on international policies such as easier access to visas.