Gilbert Wants You to Visit, Plans to Increase Tourism Outreach
Gilbert has been making waves lately as one of the most prosperous cities, most affordable cities, and best places to raise a family. Gilbert is also hoping to parlay some of that hype into becoming a tourism hub, according to AZ Central.
Tourism is one of Arizona’s most lucrative industries, yielding almost $21 billion in 2016, according to the Arizona Office of Tourism. As an agricultural town that has blossomed into one of the state’s most successful real estate markets in the state, Gilbert is looking for a bigger piece of the tourism pie.
Because of the town’s close proximity to the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, Gilbert officials have decided to increase tourism spending from $100,000 to $420,000 this fiscal year — part of these costs include a $115,000 annual salary for a full-time tourism administrator.
Gilbert plans to market to four types of visitors: day visitors who may spend time shopping; overnight visitors who are staying in Gilbert as a home base for exploring metro Phoenix; business travelers who come into town on business but may also go to restaurants or attractions; and groups who are in town for events such as weddings or conferences. The town is focusing on developing itineraries for travelers and tourism campaigns.
Gilbert’s five-year plan aims to grow the tourism industry and expand hotel accommodations. The town’s eight hotels currently under construction will offer a total of 782 rooms to visitors. While not quite comparable to Scottsdale’s 13,440 or Mesa’s 5,452, it’s still better than the 20 rooms Gilbert offered in 2006. The town also hopes to start tracking the specific spending habits and needs of its visitors. In the future, this data could help pinpoint how to make the town a preferred spot for tourists.