Dip in Arizona national parks visits attributed to Europe's sour economy

April 17, 2013

A new study said Arizona’s national parks are seeing fewer visits. The National Park Service said that is because European tourists are staying home.The National Park Service report indicated that Grand Canyon and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Las Vegas saw a slight uptick in tourist visits last year. So did Petrified Forest and Saguaro National Monument, but all other national parks and recreation sites in the state saw a drop in visits last year.

 Cheryl Cothran is director of the Arizona Hospitality Research and Resource Center at Northern Arizona University. She said the study shows that European tourists aren’t visiting Arizona as much as they did in the 1990s.

“Europe, like the United States  has had a challenging economy. They have an aging population and recession issues, but we’re seeing an increase in visitations from other countries like China and Brazil, and that trend is expected to continue," Cothran said.

Cothran said national parks in Arizona have seen an overall 22 percent drop in visitations since 1993. She said the state is trying to counteract that by stepping up advertising overseas to get more foreign tourists to visit Arizona. 

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