August 5, 2011—Tucson tourism improves despite major budget cut

By: Courtney Carlmark
KOLD 13

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) – Classic cars, boats, hot rods, and much more will take over the Tucson Convention Center this weekend.

6,000-8,000 folks are expected to walk through the TCC doors Saturday for the second annual Tucson Motor Show.

Conventions, conferences, and sporting events seem to be revving the tourism industry during the typically slow summer months.

Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Richard Vaughan, says despite a major budget cut of $10.5 million down to $6 million, Tucson’s tourism industry is seeing a positive trend.

In fact, he says in June Tucson saw a 10% improvement compared to the same time last year.

The Jehovah Witness convention played a big role, bringing in nearly $18 million over six weekends.

Vaughan says it’s a small step in the right direction, but we have a long way to go.

“There’s always challenges though, quite frankly as we go along. The economy has to continue to get better and we have to build new facilities. We need desperately a downtown hotel and expanded convention center,” comments Vaughan.

Tourism brings in $2 billion to Tucson and 22,000 jobs he says, but it takes years to book big events.

Vaughan says if we want to keep folks coming back in the future, we need to invest in our facilities now.

Tucson Convention Center officials say the facility has been busier this summer than last.

It’s only been empty for five days from May until now and August is nearly completely booked.

The Tucson Motor Show starts Saturday.

For more information on that, click here.

http://www.kold.com/story/15216480/tucson-tourism-improves-despite-major-budget-cut

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