Scottsdale Discovered!

Howard Myers Photo

I received an email yesterday regarding a New York Times article referenced in a Phoenix Business Journal column (and now re-referenced here) about how Scottsdale is a top winter destination. Eureka!

Teasing aside, I’m glad that our little town receives this kind of recognition for what we’ve known all along. We have been the best-kept not-so-secret of the travel industry and diehard snowbirds for the last half-century.

In a way, with all the work of our fine Convention and Visitors Bureau, it’s kind of amazing that we appear on these lists at all since folks take it for granted that we are a great place to warm up. Scottsdale is almost at the top of any survey when you ask folks to name a winter destination.

The synergy of winter events that benefit from our climate (car auctions, golf, horse shows, etc.) further broadcasts our reputation. Nothing says, “Come visit,” like a TV wide shot of green grass, saguaros, and the sun shining on the mountains…especially when the viewer is stuck inside during a snowstorm.

I note another story from the PBJ regarding Arizonan’s overwhelming love for public lands and open spaces. I think it is important to note that the tourist appeal described in the first article has as much to do with our destination success as anything else. In fact, the first two activities mentioned in the article are described thus, “…children can enjoy mornings spent horseback riding cowboy-style or exploring nature trails in the Sonoran Desert…”Who says the slogan, “West’s Most Western Town,” is out-of-date?!

The “high-energy night-life” of our Entertainment District is mentioned almost as an after-thought. Ironically, the NYT writer felt it important to note that night-life occurs in, “…a manageable downtown.” She must have missed “Mama Mia at the Galleria.”

But seriously, there’s a good lesson here. Visitors and tourists want to have fun, but most of them want to do it in a place that’s safe and well-managed. Our reputation as resort town and tourist destination is based on great winter weather, but has also been built by decades of good management. The folks who are running the show now aren’t the ones who built this reputation. And it wasn’t built on high-rise buildings, apartment complexes, and bars.

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