By Julie Wiessner
The Arizona Office of Tourism survey results, compiled by the W.A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University, have been unveiled, and provide a look at who visits the Winslow and Holbrook areas of northeast Arizona. The survey was conducted one week each month for a year, from January through December 2012, with a total of 500 surveys collected. It was noted that the survey was conducted to help area tourism officials and businesses know how best to target their marketing.
The first question on the survey asked visitors how they heard about the Winslow and Holbrook communities. The largest number, 29.3 percent, knew about the area from the lyrics of the Eagles’ song Take It Easy, from staying at La Posada Hotel and from just passing through. The next largest group included those who had been in the area before at 28.2 percent.
Information from the survey showed that most visitors to the Winslow and Holbrook area are middle-aged and older on overnight trips, traveling on Interstate 40. Many have previously visited the area, and are drawn to its history and natural attractions. More than a fourth were from the Phoenix area, with 41 other states represented.
About one in eight visitors were of foreign origin with the United Kingdom and Canada comprising the largest groups at 29 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
The total number of out-of-region visitors to the Winslow-Holbrook area was estimated at 1,675,500. These visitors made $133.6 million in purchases in Navajo County, with an average regional expenditure of $208 per party. This contributed to the total economic output of $170.7 million for Navajo County. This economic activity supported some 1,836 full-time equivalent jobs, and federal, state and local tax revenue of $18.6 million.
Visitors filling out the surveys estimated how much they would spend while in the communities of Winslow and Holbrook. Most money would be spent on lodging at $80 per day, followed by restaurants and groceries at $69 a day, transportation at $47 per day, and shopping for items at $34 a day, followed by recreation, tour, and permit fees at $10 per day.
Other information discovered from the survey was that one fourth of visitors cited Winslow-Holbrook as their primary destination, while three-fourths were passing through to somewhere else.
Winslow led the list of communities visited for the year at 65.5 percent, while Holbrook came in at 37.7 percent and Petrified Forest National Park received a visit from 35.6 percent of those who participated in the survey.
It was noted that most people, 46.5 percent, visit this area for leisure vacations, with most travel done by private and rented automobiles at 87.3 percent.
Day visitors, who made up about one fourth of those responding, spent an average of four hours in town, while the overnighters stayed an average of two nights. Over four-fifths of the overnight visitors, or 81.6 percent, stayed in hotels or motels.
Activities most visitors found interesting were visiting national and state parks; scenic drives; visiting cultural or historic buildings; visiting museums; visiting Route 66; and hiking/walking trails.
On a scale from 1 to 10, most visitors rated their experiences at an 8.5, meaning they were quite satisfied with their overall experiences and events, and the activities they attended.
By Julie Wiessner