TRANSPORTATION RESEARCH DIGEST
ARIZONA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE
Arizona Highways Magazine’s Impact on Tourism by Kathleen L. Andereck, and Evelyn Ng, Tourism Consultants, 8134 W. Palmaire Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85303 (Arizona Department of Transportation, 206 S. 17th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85007; 602-712-3138) (Feb 2005).
Arizona Highways Magazine results in a minimum of $34,663,000 direct expenditures per year by travelers who do not reside in Arizona.
This amounts to a benefit/cost ratio of 3.1 to 1 at the very least.
Arizona Highways Magazine (AHM) has a substantial impact on tourism to, and within, Arizona. A considerable percentage of both in state and out of state subscribers are influenced to travel in Arizona due directly to AHM. Another group of subscribers are influenced to increase the length of their trips based on magazine content. Tourists make a variety of choices based on what they see and read in the magazine, with the photographs being particularly influential on travel. AHM is also perceived as being very helpful with making travel decisions. The magazine is most often used to help select specific attractions or destinations, to select Arizona as a travel destination in general, and to determine travel routes.
In addition to use of the magazine in the short term to assist with travel decisions, most subscribers keep AHM to use at a later time for travel planning, and most share their magazines with others. Thus, the magazine continues to influence travel over time. As well, even non-subscribers are reasonably familiar with the magazine, with 52% of the non-subscribers reporting awareness of AHM. This is a high awareness level, even for a tourist population with an interest in Arizona as a destination.
There is some likelihood that these individuals have seen the magazine, have been given copies of the magazine, have friends or family in Arizona who are subscribers, or were even subscribers themselves in the past.
AHM subscribers who travel in Arizona differ in a number of ways from other travelers in the state. Some of the more noteworthy differences between OSS and NS include a substantially higher average number of visits for OSS than other travelers with an interest in Arizona; a longer length of stay when visiting among OSS; and a higher level of involvement with Arizona as a travel “product” among OSS. It must also be noted, however, that subscribers differ from non-subscribers in ways that tend to not be viewed as economically beneficial within the tourism industry: they do not spend more money on average than other travelers; are more likely to stay in a private homes than paid accommodations than other travelers (probably with friends or family); and are more likely to visit Arizona primarily to visit friends and family than to engage in other activities.
The extent to which AHM stimulates travel by state residents is also worthy of comment. Although the ideal is to have tourists visit from out of state, thereby bringing “new” money into Arizona, it is also important to keep residents’ money at home rather than having it spent it in other states or abroad. As well, many of Arizona’s rural communities are dependent on visitors from the Phoenix and Tucson markets, and certainly AHM induces travel to these communities when they are featured in the magazine.