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Arizona tourism promotion falling behind other states

Monument Valley, Ariz.

PHOENIX -- Arizona is falling behind other states in promoting tourism, said an industry spokeswoman.

Arizona faces heavy competition from California, Texas and Las Vegas when it comes to attracting tourism, said Kristen Jarnagin with the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association. The Golden State and Lone Star State are spending a combined $100 million dollars to show off their states while Arizona is shelling out $7 million, she said.

Jarnigan would like to see the governor boost that in the budget which is expected to be released Friday.

"Ideally we would like to have $12 million to work with. We will never be on the same level with the other states but it would help up be competitive," Jarnagin said. "Florida spends $75 million and Las Vegas $100 million to attract visitors each year. Our numbers show Arizona gets $8 in return for every dollar spent to promote the state."

Tourism pumps almost $3 billion into the state's economy each year and 200,000 jobs are directly tied to tourism.

Jarnagin said that money is especially important for smaller communities such as Bisbee and Jerome and the growing winemaking industry in Sonoita. She added that places which are well-known by Arizonans could become much bigger on a national and worldwide scale with more promotion.

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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