by Staff Reports
Canadian residents seem to have a thing for Prescott, with our northern neighbor ranking as the City’s No. 1 visiting country. And according to the Prescott Chamber of Commerce Official Visitors Center, the UK, Germany, Australia, Belgium and France are not far behind. Last year, Prescott welcomed 115 German visitors who were part of a traveling auto club.
For those looking to get away from Arizona’s busier tourist spots or its heavily populated metropolitan areas, visitors seem to be flocking to Prescott. Here are some of the highlights of the past year and what to look forward to in 2019 as the City builds on its strong tourism track record.
2018 Was a Banner Year
Prescott was a big draw for visitors this past year, with a 4 percent increase in bed taxes over the previous year, says John Heiney, City of Prescott Community Outreach Manager. “With revenues from the bed tax, the City has been able to give back to the community more than $300,000 in the form of trails and other recreation services improvements,” he notes in the January Tourism Partners Newsletter.
Another $250,000 was used for such events as the Whiskey Off-Road backcountry mountain bike race, the Prescott Bluegrass Festival, and Frontier Days – World’s Oldest Rodeo, all of which drew large audiences. A portion of that grant also went to 27 local nonprofits to promote events to visitors outside the area.
Last August, SkyWest Airlines began offering flights to Los Angeles and Denver, allowing passengers to connect to major destinations throughout the U.S.
“We are continuing to reach out to Southern California through the LA Times, and soon we will begin a media and advertising campaign for Denver,” Heiney says. Through aggressive contact with the media, travel agents and travel operators, Prescott now will focus on building these markets and increasing flight traffic.
Other great achievements include visits to Toronto, Vancouver, New York, China and Germany to promote Prescott to more than 225 journalists and tour operators, says Heather Hermen, owner of Front Burner Media, a marketing and public relations company that works with the City.
“Through a unique partnership with Visit USA Parks, we welcomed social influencer Layla Griffin to Prescott to write about the outdoor treasures to enjoy,” Hermen says. “Her story was translated into French and German and will run in a six-month digital campaign. To date, we’ve received 302,000 impressions!”
What’s in Store for 2019
The City says it is working to get Prescott in front of travel planners, product managers, news media and travelers all over the world by engaging with the Arizona Office of Technology on several shows and missions. Two consumer travel and adventure shows already are scheduled for the first quarter. And in January, the Arizona High School Student Council Convention took place, attracting more than 1,500 students and teachers.
Not to be overlooked, the City is following up on several inquiries from hotel developers to add inventory to the market. “Prescott has not seen new hotel rooms in over 10 years, yet visitation is increasing yearly,” Heiney says.
Prescott will also continue to boost its drive market — potential travelers within driving distance of a city. By highlighting the ease of travel, weekday escapes, entertainment opportunities and showcasing Prescott’s Western heritage, the City is gearing ahead for another banner year.