Guest Editorial: Experiences And Recreation Increasingly Driving Scottsdale Tourism

By Recker McDowell —

Scottsdale saw 10.8 million tourists last year with visitors enjoying the city’s shopping, restaurants and bars, hiking trails, arts and culture and golf courses.

What all those tourists have in common is that they are coming to Scottsdale for experiences. That is true for visitors everywhere whether it’s Key West, Florida or Juneau, Alaska.

And recreation is a very important for the experiences for tourists (as well as local residents and day trippers) desire.

In Scottsdale, that means enjoying Arizona’s natural beauty and mild winters. Traditionally, recreation tourism in Scottsdale (and elsewhere in Arizona) has entailed hiking and golf.

Now more and more tourists are looking at walkability and ‘bike-ability’ as part of their desired experiences on vacation or a local day out.

They want to be able stroll ‘around town’ or a dining and shopping district. Scottsdale certainly has that in its Old Town and downtown areas more than other Arizona cities though places such as Tempe, Gilbert and Mesa have been working to increase their walkability in their ‘downtowns’.

Bicycle tourism is also on the rise with visitors renting bikes to increase their connectivity to various parts of their destinations.

In Scottsdale, bicycle tourism includes mountain bikers enjoying hiking trails as well as other visitors connecting with the city along Indian Bend Wash or in Old Town.

Scottsdale is a wonderful place to visit. We all know that. Still, the city needs to invest in its future and infrastructure to stay competitive and in tune with consumers’ preferences.

Recreation and experiences are two of the top preferences for tourists. So, when opportunities arise to invest and enhance in walkability, ‘bike-ability’ and recreation assets Scottsdale tourism leaders and advocates, policymakers, developers and businesses should jump at that those chances.