Three thrilling decades

Three thrilling decades

There’s been plenty to promote to visitors about Scottsdale

By Rachel Sacco

While you rang in the new year, anxiously awaiting what the coming months will bring, we at Experience Scottsdale celebrated something else entirely.

This year marks Experience Scottsdale’s 30th anniversary promoting travel and tourism in the city. Now that your new-year festivities have ended, we ask that you join in our anniversary celebrations by helping us reflect on all of our years.

Experience Scottsdale’s story began in 1987, when the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce formed its Convention and Visitors Bureau division. At the time, we were just four staff members representing a blossoming tourism community. That year, Scottsdale offered 5,000 total hotel rooms, and bed-tax collections topped out at $1.4 million.
As Scottsdale’s tourism industry has grown, so has Experience Scottsdale.

Today, we are a standalone, nonprofit organization with a staff of 45 representing more than 400 tourism-related businesses in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. Meanwhile, the Scottsdale region now boasts 14,000 hotel rooms, while Scottsdale collects more than $17 million in annual bed tax.

As we’ve grown over the years, we have celebrated many milestones.

In 1987, we hosted our first Sunsational Familiarization Tour, inviting meeting planners to visit the destination firsthand with the hope they would bring their conferences and conventions to Scottsdale. In May, we’ll welcome meeting planners once again for the 30th Annual Sunsational tour.

Twenty-eight years ago, we ran our first cooperative newspaper advertisement in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. This year, we are advertising in major publications like Golf Digest, Bon Appétit and American Way, the in-flight publication of American Airlines.

We published our inaugural visitors guide, the Scottsdale visitor’s bible on all of the area’s amenities, back in 1992. Last fiscal year, Experience Scottsdale distributed nearly 170,000 copies of our annual visitors guide, both online and in print.

In 1995, we launched our first website, ArizonaGuide.com/Scottsdale, which received nearly 90,000 hits in a year. Last year, ExperienceScottsdale.com received more than 5.2 million page views.

And, of course, over the years, we debuted several advertising campaigns, from 1991’s “For the Sunshine of Your Life,” to 2002’s “Bring Your Passion for Life,” to the launch of our newest, “Absolutely Scottsdale,” with many more in between.

From 1987 to 2017, Experience Scottsdale has positioned the city as a world-class vacation, meetings and group-travel destination. We’ve brought together Scottsdale’s diverse tourism community to ensure that our destination remains top of mind with visitors from around the world.

Each year, the Scottsdale-area hosts hundreds of meetings and conventions, is spotlighted in thousands of articles, and welcomes millions of visitors.

While much has changed in our organization and our tourism community, our unwavering commitment to bolster the city’s reputation as a tourism destination has remained constant for 30 years.

Like you, we look forward to seeing what the new year will bring. We have a feeling 2017 will be another hallmark year for Experience Scottsdale as we continue our mission to drive tourism to our community.

Rachel Sacco is president and CEO of Experience Scottsdale, which is responsible for marketing the Scottsdale area as a premier travel and meetings destination to national and international leisure visitors, travel agents, tour operators and meeting planners.