Southern Arizona Lodging & Resort Association

Southern Arizona Lodging & Resort Association
Local Issues

Local Issues

SALARA supports the 2015 Pima County Bond Issue- SALARA has issued support for the 2015 Pima County Bond election, specifically the tourism proposition. SALARA will be encouraging its member properties and their employees to vote “Yes” on the county bond election. For more information contact the SALARA office at 520-207-9931.

SALARA backs re-purposing of local jurisdiction- SALARA will be introducing legistlation again in 2016 at the state legislature supporting the re-purposing of the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority. This Authority, passed in 2009, was enabling legislation for Pima County to raise funds to support major league sports. While the law continues on the books, the purpose for which it was designed has long since evaporated. SALARA, the Tucson Airport Authority, and Pima County would like to see the Authority change its purpose to promote sponsorship of market-wide sporting events to promote the tourist destination of southern Arizona, to support non-stop air routes to Tucson International Airport, and to support the operations of the Pima County Sports Park, specifically to support youth and amateur sports.

A new Sports Authority Board will be appointed consisting of seven members. Five members will be appointed by the Pima County Board of Supervisors: one from the lodging industry, one from the car rental industry, one from the restaurant sector, one from the retail segment, and one from VisitTucson. In addition, two at-large members will be appointed by the Pima County administrator.

The tax rates that were originally established for the 2009 authority will remain the same. Hotels and motels will be taxed at the rate of .45%. Car rentals will be taxed and .35%. Restaurants and bars will be taxed at .25%. And the retail segment will be taxed at .15%.

Fifty percent of the annual amount raised by the Authority will be used to sponsor market-wide events and to market southern Arizona as a destination. One quarter of the funds will be used to support air service to Tucson. The final one quarter of the funds will assist with operational expenses of Pima County youth and amateur sports facilities.

Should the proposed legislation pass, the voters of Pima County will need to approve the imposition of the tax to fund the new Sports and Tourism Authority. SALARA and Pima County view this legislation as a job creation bill, a tax revenue enhancement for government, and a major source of income to increase tourism in Southern Arizona.

Tourism Pays – Tucson & AZ How Tourism Pays for Tucson and Pima County Spending by visitors generates sales in lodging, food services, recreation, retail businesses, and transportation. Recreation and entertainment, shopping, dining, and public services associated with tourism contribute to the favorable quality of life enjoyed by residents.  Read more at

Millions in Taxes Should Have Gone to Rio Nuevo, Tucson’s local TIF District

It appears that millions of dollars paid by businesses in state sales taxes over at least seven years should have gone to Rio Nuevo, but didn’t.

The trouble is, some businesses either didn’t know about the code or omitted it for other reasons.

Like other retail businesses, those within the boundaries of the Rio Nuevo tax increment financing (TIF) district — generally downtown Tucson and along Broadway east to Wilmot Road — are required to file with the Arizona Department of Revenue a TPT-1 business transaction privilege, use and severance tax returns document. But the businesses within the TIF district are supposed to include a code on the form so the proper amount of tax money is sent to Rio Nuevo.

Read more at Inside Tucson Business.

Tucson’s ‘The Real Southwest’ Connects With Brand USA  

In January, President Obama announced the creation of a national travel and tourism strategy to grow the U.S. economy. For the first time in our nation’s history, we now have an established corporation for travel promotion, known as “Brand USA” — . With an annual budget of $200 million. Brand USA’s mission is to increase international visitation to the United States and grow global market share, which will in turn strengthen our economy and job growth, while maximizing the marketing efforts for destinations and travel brands, like ours, across the country.

Through research and an elaborate branding effort, Brand USA has developed a global brand that’s welcoming, unexpected and inclusive – and one that celebrates the idea “there’s no one thing that defines the U.S. but that each visitor and each experience helps create the fabric of our American culture.” Positioned as “The United States of Awesome Possibilities,” the brand comes to life in four experiential pillars – Great Outdoors, Urban Excitement, Indulgence, and Culture. You can see examples at

As part of a globally coordinated marketing effort, the campaign launch “Land of Dreams” is currently being tested in Canada, Japan and the U.K. Before the end of the year additional markets will be added, including Mexico, France and Germany. With the exception of Japan, the MTCVB allocates resources to reach key audiences in these feeder markets. The lion’s share of our international budget is spent marketing to the Mexican visitor as they pump nearly $1 billion annually into Tucson’s economy. Also significantly important to Tucson are Canadian travelers, who spend nearly $800 million annually and account for over half of all international spending in Arizona.

VisitTucson (fka MTCVB) has entered into a partnership with Brand USA, which will extend our international market reach by 30 percent. This added exposure will increase brand awareness for the Real Southwest campaign, which emphasizes Tucson’s rich cultural heritage and plays off our region’s spectacular climate and immense natural assets, all of which aligns with Brand USA’s experiential pillars.

Read More…

Produced by MGR Consulting Group