Scorching summers and the Valley?s economy

August 15, 2012

Two experts weigh in on whether or not scorching summers affect the valley’s economy, and what can be done to attract more tourism.

Jim Rounds, senior vice president and economist with Elliot D. Pollack and Company, and Kimber Lanning, director of Local First Arizona, say Arizona is seeing less summer economic drop-off for the first time in a while. Lanning says that the population has finally reached enough density that seasonal residents don’t make a huge difference. She says that in the past people may have been able to close shop for the summer, but these days it would be crazy to try. Lanning says the goal now is to get people who vacation in California to instead opt for an Arizona destination. She wants people to discover the cities and environments around them.

Rounds says Arizona is doing well economically despite the heat. He says businesses have to develop a model based around seasons and prepare for the lean months. Rounds says there are maintenance costs to think of, so discounted rates during the summer make sense. He says that he’s wary of government spending in most areas, but investing in Arizona’s tourism brings great returns.

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