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Students help city harness the power of tourism

June 03, 2010

An exciting partnership between Arizona State University and the City of Maricopa is helping the city investigate ways to better their community by harnessing the power of tourism. This past spring, under the guidance of professor Tim Tyrrell, an ASU Tourism Development and Management class looked at Maricopa as a case study in a tourism research methods course. The class studied how eight different resources of the city could provide opportunities for future tourism development.

In early May, the findings were presented to Maricopa Mayor Tony Smith, Vice Mayor  Brent Murphree and five member
of the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce. Opportunities for the city identified by the students included better serving current Maricopa residents and business travelers, anticipating imminent growth in transportation systems, and forming stronger collaborations with the Ak-Chin community.

“The partnership developed with ASU during the development of this Tourism Project will be instrumental in our community's success in developing and promoting tourism in Maricopa, which has become a key component in our city's economic development strategy,” said Terri Kingery, executive director of the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce.

"Tourism and higher education are critical elements to be developed in Maricopa," said Mayor Smith. "By partnering with the Chamber of Commerce and ASU, we will accelerate our progress toward identifying the assets that promote Maricopa's proud history and vision for a prosperous future."

The project was the first step in the tourism planning process and is expected to continue in the fall by another class in the School of Community Resources & Development under the guidance of professor Rhonda Phillips.
The Maricopa Chamber of Commerce and Maricopa Town Council were the primary sponsors of the project. ASU sponsors included the College of Public Program, which included work from designer Felipe Ruiz, and the Megapolitan Tourism Research Center, which professor Tyrrell is the director. A PowerPoint show and downloadable PDF report are available at

The Megapolitan Tourism Research Center is devoted to studying the role of tourism in community development in order to strengthen its contribution to viable economic, social and environmental systems, especially in megapolitan regions around the world. The center is part of the School of Community Resources & Development, located in the College of Public Programs at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. For information, visit


Carey Ballard
(602) 496-0411