With the launch of Air Canada’s new direct flights from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary to Phoenix, the state of Arizona is quickly looking to secure itself as the number one choice for Canadian snowbirds seeking a sunny getaway during the winter months.
Last night the Arizona Office of Tourism and their regional partners, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Tucson, Grand Canyon West, Mesa, Williams and Tempe welcomed members of the travel trade and media to a fun-filled event at the Rock n’ Horse Saloon here in Toronto.
Mark Sniderman, manager of tourism and strategic partnerships, Air Canada; and Becky Blaine, senior director, trade and media relations for the Arizona Office of Tourism.
Becky Blaine, senior director, trade and media relations for the Arizona Office of Tourism, was on hand to speak with PAX about what’s new and exciting down in Arizona, which gets about 330 days of sunshine a year, and has plenty of outdoor offerings for adventurers.
“This year, we’re up 2.2 per cent in arrivals over last year, and Canadian visitation is strong,” Blaine said. “We’ve always had a great relationship with our Canadian visitors, and now with our new partnership with Air Canada, we’re really excited to grow our Canadian visitors from all provinces for 2018.”
The Office of Arizona Tourism is working directly with Air Canada to promote the destination as not only a winter destination, but also as a year-round destination. While the Montreal to Phoenix flight is seasonal, the Office of Arizona Tourism continues to look to the future in the hopes of growing even more.
“The new flights from Air Canada will operate three times weekly out of Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver,” said Mark Sniderman, manager of tourism and strategic partnerships, Air Canada. “For now, these are seasonal flights, but we’ll see how they do.”
Members of the Arizona Office of Tourism and their regional partners strike a pose at the Rock n' Horse Saloon.
With its southwestern roots, a great deal of Arizona’s culture links back to country music, outdoor festivals, and of course, the stampede, which is why the tourism board is excited to work on a new strategic partnership with the Calgary Stampede. “We have a great promotion set up with the Calgary Stampede, and we’re really excited, because this is an event that’s so much fun for Canadians every summer, and it harkens back to our roots as that Western rodeo destination, and Prescott is actually celebrating their 130th rodeo in Arizona this year, making it the world’s oldest rodeo, so it’s a great time to visit.”
With temperatures in the state hovering on average, around 20 degrees, and no humidity in sight, Canadian visitors are guaranteed to find an abundance of activities to take part in, whether it’s winter or summer. Arizona has three national parks and 32 state parks, making the destination the perfect spot to reconnect with nature.
Arizona sees close to 43 million visitors per year, and Canadians make up a great percentage of that number, representing the second highest market after Mexico. “When we look at total visitation numbers, we’re seeing close to one million Canadian visitors per year, and we’re seeing a growing trend of multigenerational families,” Blaine said. “We hope to break the millionth mark with Canadian visitors this year, especially with the new flights operating on behalf of Air Canada.”
From Feb. 8 to 17, Arizona Beer Week kicks off, followed by Arizona Cocktail Week running from Feb. 17 to 19. March marks the start of Arizona’s high season, and a great deal of outdoor food festivals come to Arizona through March and April, making it the perfect spot for for foodies.
For more information, see the Arizona Office of Tourism’s event calendar at www.visitarizona.com.