Tourism activity in Sun Corridor drops to lowest level since 2006
One of Arizona's most dynamic industries - tourism - is suffering its lowest level of activity since 2006, according to Arizona State University's Sun Corridor Tourism Barometer. The online monthly index measures the health of Arizona's travel and tourism industry.
The ASU Megapolitan Tourism Research Center has calculated the Sun Corridor Tourism Barometer since January 2008, and publishes the results at http://mtrc.asu.edu/portal/barometer.
The barometer is an index of four equally weighted, seasonally adjusted monthly data series that capture different aspects of tourism activity: hospitality and leisure industry employment, commercial air carrier landings, national park visitation and international visitors to the U.S.
The index of growth rates was set to 100 in June 1994, the middle of the most stable period of the past 20 years. After seven years of growth to 116, it dropped back to 99 immediately after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11. Since then, it has shown relatively consistent growth until August 2008, when it reached a peak of 125. However, the index declined to 119 from August 2008 until March 2009.
"The most worrisome component of the index is that seasonally adjusted hospitality and leisure employment has declined every month since May 2008," says Tim Tyrrell, director of the Megapolitan Tourism Research Center. The overall decline in from May 2008 to March 2009 has been 5.5 percent.
The Sun Corridor is one of 20 megapolitan regions in the country and includes approximately one-fifth of Arizona's land mass but 80 percent of the population. Data for the barometer reflect trends in Maricopa, Pinal, Pima, Yavapai, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties. A second barometer has recently been constructed for Northern California in cooperation with San Jose State University.
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: http://mtrc.asu.edu/portal.
Professor, School of Community Resources and Development
Director, Megapolitan Tourism Research Center
Manager of Media Communications, ASU College of Public Programs