It All Starts With a Visit | Visit Mesa

It All Starts With a Visit

Destination promotion is not just about attracting visitors; it's about cultivating a vibrant community where everyone thrives.

A landmark new research report released by Destinations International entitled “Destination Promotion: A Catalyst for Community Vitality” shows the strong connection between destination promotion and community well-being and economic development in Mesa, Arizona. Visit Mesa, the city’s official destination marketing organization (DMO), was selected as one of 10 DMOs worldwide to participate in the study.

The research demonstrates the far-reaching positive impacts of destination promotion, extending beyond the tourism industry to benefit the entire community. The cycle of destination promotion improves resident quality of life, supports government services, encourages workforce development, and builds a broad economic base. Visitors to a destination are more likely to choose the destination as a place to live, work and invest.

“Regardless of whether people are thinking about a place to live or go to school or open a business, no one makes that decision without first making a visit. Our goal is to draw people here for that important initial trip that will then help fuel Mesa’s economy and create a place where residents prosper.”— Marc Garcia, President and CEO of Visit Mesa

The Work of a Destination Organization

Key Findings:

The impacts of the visitor economy warrant investments in destination promotion.

  • Research consistently demonstrates the measurable benefits of destination programs as they reach potential visitors, influence their choices, and drive additional visits and spending. The average spending return on media spending is $85 and the average return on taxes is $9, for every $1 invested.
  • Increases in media spending have led to greater investment returns over the past decade, fueled by gains in marketing effectiveness.

The dividends of destination promotion extend far beyond the benefits accruing to visitor-related industries and their suppliers.

  • Visitor spending significantly impacts industries outside of the leisure and hospitality sector, especially in other services-producing sectors.
  • On average, visitor spending produces additional sales in the destination that are almost 60% of that direct spending.

Tourism developments have proven to influence quality of life and overall well-being of the community.

  • Most residents value tourism as a direct contributor to their quality-of-life amenities.
  • Destination organizations act as cultural custodians or stewards through intentional initiatives and programs.
  • Destination organizations contribute to quality of life through event promotion, thoughtful placemaking, and attracting investment in additional amenities.
  • Community stakeholders acknowledge the role of destination organizations in driving economic growth and boosting the overall community.

Destination brands can be leveraged across the economic development spectrum.

  • Tourism advertising not only attracts visitors; it also lifts the destination’s image for economic development.
  • Destination organizations play a leading role in ensuring consistent messaging is delivered about the destination.
  • The creative assets produced by destination organizations are extremely useful to both public and private sector partners.

Amenities and lifestyles play an important role in attracting new residents to a community.

  • Talent is attracted to destinations that offer a good quality of life. Hence, talent attraction initiatives led by or in collaboration with destination organizations tend to have the greatest impact.
  • Destination organizations contribute to workforce development through specialized programs.
  • Workforce diversity is highly correlated with the size of the leisure and hospitality sector in a destination.

Revenues generated by visitors either directly or indirectly support government services.

  • Government services and community programs are impacted by tax revenues supported by visitor spending and the advocacy role played by destination organizations that are attentive to the long-term needs of the destination.
  • A significant share of residents appreciate that the taxes paid by visitors help offset their own tax bill.

Growth in the visitor economy drives growth in other areas of the economy.

  • Destinations with a higher concentration of visitor-related industries have tended to grow faster than average over the past decade.
  • Econometric tests show that employment shifts in the visitor economy are followed in subsequent years by sustained changes in growth in other parts of the economy.
  • A 10% increase in a destination’s visitor-related employment relative to the U.S. average tends to be followed by a 2.5% rise in broader employment in the short run.

Destinations International, the world’s largest membership entity and resource for official destination organizations, commissioned Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company, along with Longwoods International, Clarity of Place, and MMGY NextFactor, to provide insights on the economic benefits of destination promotion.