Phoenix skyline

6 ways to celebrate tourism in Arizona during National Travel and Tourism week

By

Heather Beshears

Arizona State University’s graduation ceremonies coincide with a weeklong celebration of one of Arizona’s biggest industries: tourism. National Travel and Tourism Week runs May 7 to 13, highlighting both the people that power this sector and the personal well-being gained through travel.  

This semester, two ASU master’s students and 82 undergraduates will be entering the tourism workforce. 

Travel and tourism have existed for a long time, but an organized industry and university degrees are relatively young. Christine Vogt, professor of tourism at ASU, does not believe a tourism degree was around when she attended college for her undergraduate degree.

“In the 1990’s, tourism degrees were becoming available. As an interdisciplinary area of study, there are so many doors to study and work in the tourism industry,” said Vogt, who leads the ASU Center for Sustainable Tourism.

As students graduate this week, many will have family visiting Arizona to celebrate with them as well.

According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, visitors spending generated $21 billion in 2015. More than 180,000 people are employed in the local industry and it generates $2.9 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue.

 

Here's a short list of highlights in the Phoenix-Tempe-Mesa area to make the most of a visit to Arizona:

1. Shop and eat local. Check out the Center for Sustainable Tourism's Local First Arizona’s travel guides to explore its area’s “Small Wonders” neighborhoods.

2. Visit world-class museums along Central Avenue in Phoenix, including the Phoenix Art Museum and the Heard Museum.

3. Phoenix is a city of parks — large mountain parks frame our urban space. Start at South Mountain Visitor Center off of Baseline Road and then select the right trail length and challenge. Piestewa Peak, north of downtown Phoenix, offers picnic ramadas and an assortment of trails.

4. The Musical Instrument Museum is top rated and one of a kind. The museum is located in north Phoenix near Mayo Clinic.

5. Tempe’s Town Lake features a lake with many active recreation opportunities including walking, biking and running trails. Boating is also possible and rentals are available.

6. For transport, use the Light Rail to get from the airport and between the Tempe and Downtown Phoenix campuses and graduation venues.