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Woman of the New AzLTA leader plans to use her international background to boost Arizona tourism 116

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im Sabow hopes to bring a global perspective to Arizona’s tourism industry. In November, the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association and the Valley Hotel and Resort Association named Sabow as its new president and CEO, succeeding Debbie Johnson, who is now leading the Arizona Office of Tourism. Sabow left her position as executive director of the Arizona-Mexico Commission to take on the leadership role in the tourism industry. “I plan to bring my international experience to this new challenge,” Sabow says. “Having that global view will help us take Arizona’s tourism industry — which is already a huge economic engine — to the next level.” Before Gov. Doug Ducey appointed Sabow to her role with the Arizona-Mexico Commission, she served in the gubernatorial administrations of both Jan Brewer and Fife Symington. She also worked as assistant vice president of state relations for the University of Arizona until leaving for a spot in Ducey’s administration. Az Business met with Sabow to talk about the impact of tourism on the state and how her background could boost the industry. Az Business: What attracted you to the position at AzLTA? Kim Sabow: As a third-generation Arizona native with a deep passion for our great state, the opportunity to serve as president and CEO of the state’s leading public policy advocacy entity for one of the state’s largest industries presented an opportunity too great to ignore. Arizona tourism is the state’s second largest industries employing more than 200,000 residents and generating $2.9 billion annually in state, local and federal tax revenues. It also takes top honors as the state’s largest export industry. AB: How does AzLTA fit into the mix with Arizona’s other tourism groups and associations? KS: The AzLTA works in close collaboration with a multitude of stakeholders throughout the state including the Arizona Office of Tourism, the numerous convention and visitors bureaus and related industry partners in an effort to increase awareness of tourism and the significant impact the industry has on Arizona’s economy. Through advocacy and education, the AzLTA promotes the interests of our members, the industry and residents who rely on our properties, attractions


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and destinations for jobs and tax revenues critical to Arizona’s economic vitality. AB: You have a history of helping advance Arizona’s business development efforts. How will that experience help you in your role at AzLTA? KS: I certainly did not enter the tourism world through the standard avenues ... I began my professional career in state government as deputy press secretary for Gov. Fife Symington and later as an international trade specialist with what was then the Arizona Department of Commerce. I often recount a story that took place during that time while I was representing Arizona at an information technology trade show in Italy . It was there where I was so incredibly struck by the power and reach of the Arizona brand, particularly through tourism. While I was supposed to be focused on promoting Arizona’s attractive business climate as well as exports from numerous IT companies that call Arizona home, I ended up spending the vast majority of my time answering questions about the Grand Canyon, about our world class resorts, spas, golf courses and about the multitude of additional tourism destinations and attractions for which Arizona is world renown. These were corporate IT professionals representing global operations for their companies. What better way to get their attention and consideration for business than through tourism? It’s Arizona’s doorway to economic development.

I plan to bring my international experience to this new challenge

ARIZONA LODGING & TOURISM ASSOCIATION AB: What kind of role does tourism play in attracting new businesses to Arizona? KS: Arizona is blessed with unique natural assets, beauty, culture and climate that cannot be manufactured. Oftentimes, it is to experience this magic that CEO’s and executives from around the world choose Arizona as a destination. More than 39 million domestic and international overnight visitors experienced Arizona as a travel destination last year ... again, what better way to expose them to the dynamic and innovative industry base as well as positive business climate that Arizona also enjoys. AB: How do you think Arizona’s economic development and tourism groups should work together to achieve mutually beneficial results? KS: In my mind, the missions of Arizona’s economic development and tourism groups are very closely intertwined. Working in harmony is critical in order to showcase the Arizona brand effectively and holistically. As a former CEO, Governor Ducey realizes the importance of brand and how that brand resonates around the world. As such, he has prioritized revitalizing Arizona’s brand which will, no doubt, pay dividends for the state. AB: What is the health of Arizona’s tourism industry heading into 2016? KS: The health of Arizona’s tourism industry is as strong as it has been in years. We are coming off the high of the positive Super Bowl impacts and looking forward to the great promises of the College Football Championship game followed by the Final Four in

2017. As an industry, we are extremely optimistic. AB: Arizona tourism industry has had to overcome a few hiccups – SB 1070, questions about tolerance, etc. How does the tourism industry overcome those misperceptions about the state? KS: Arizona has a rich history as home to a diverse population, and we welcome visitors from around the globe on a daily basis. Phoenix/Scottsdale is among the Top 25 markets in the country for hosting group meetings. The groups that have selected our destination over the past several years have experienced robust and often record-breaking attendance. Arizona has always remained a wonderful and welcoming destination that offers visitors endless opportunities to experience our rich culture, storied history and stunning geography ... that is the positive Arizona brand image that is resonating. AB: What are your goals as the new leader of AzLTA? KS: To continue to grow the value proposition for our membership, thus increasing membership and ultimately the strength and reach of the industry. By increasing value through new, unique and innovative opportunities, our membership base and the benefits that base enjoys will grow. I would love to see 100 percent industry engagement in our association ... what a powerful, positive and undeniable message to our state policy makers from the state’s second largest industry.

ATHLETIC PAST: Kim Sabow, president and CEO of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association and the Valley Hotel and Resort Association, earned the 2015 C.A.T.S. Silver Anniversary Award. The award is given to former University of Arizona studentathletes who have made a significant impact within their community, to the university and within their chosen profession. Sabow was a tennis player at UA. PHOTO BY ANITA RICHEY, AZ BIG MEDIA


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The state’s can’t miss experiences or places to stay for visitors and residents

WHAT A TRIP: The Grand Canyon Railway has enchanted millions of people from around the world since 1901. PROVIDED PHOTO


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he Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association (AzLTA) is an industry organization that represents almost 500 members including hotel, resorts, attractions, destination marketing organizations, bed-and-breakfasts and other industry partners. While the AzLTA acts as the voice of Arizona’s lodging and tourism industry, it also represents some of the state’s must-visit properties and attractions. So whether you’re a visitor or already a resident, here are 40 unique Arizona experiences that are worth the trip.

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ARIZONA LODGING & TOURISM ASSOCIATION Amara Resort & Spa: Intimate boutique resort that offers 100 spacious guest rooms and suites with views of Sedona’s surrounding red rocks, Oak Creek and lush foliage. Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa: Known as “The Jewel of the Desert,” the Biltmore is a living masterpiece that showcases the influence of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Bearizona Wildlife Park: Wildlife park offering a drive-thru experience starring wolves, bears, bison, mountain goats and more. Casino Del Sol Resort: The casino offers perks that

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North: Elegant quarters feature southwestern decor, desert or mountain views, balconies or patios and gas fireplaces. fourseasons. com/scottsdale Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West: Tours are offered of Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, now a campus for an architecture school.

Grand Canyon National Park Lodges - Bright Angel Lodge: This 1935 hotel complex is situated at the top of

the Bright Angel trailhead. Grand Canyon Railway: Passenger railroad which operates between Williams, Arizona, and Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim. Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort: This high-end circa-1929

resort is set in the Catalina foothills and features an upscale restaurant with a 900-label wine cellar. Hassayampa Inn: Set in downtown Prescott, this restored 1927 hotel features a hand-painted lobby ceiling and vintage elevator. Heard Museum: The museum’s mission is to educate the public about the heritage and the living culture and art of Native peoples, with an emphasis on the Southwest.

Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock:

Nestled among Sedona’s dramatic red rock formations, this chic resort hotel features an upscale spa and a championship golf course. PROVIDED PHOTO ROOM WITH A VIEW: Amara Resort & Spa is just steps from Sedona’s uptown Hotel Valley Ho: Built in 1956, Hotel shopping and cultural hub, but the resort is nestled on the banks of Oak Valley Ho has classically cool roots Creek, which makes it feel worlds away. and still stands strong today as a must-stay destination in Downtown Scottsdale. Jerome Grand Hotel: says, include an outdoor pool, a spa, a golf course and an “Due to the high level of activity in the hotel, it outdoor concert venue, plus three meeting rooms and is a quite popular destination for amateur ghost a ballroom. Desert Botanical Garden: Founded by the Arizona hunters.” Lake Havasu: With its reputation as a party Cactus and Native Flora Society in 1937, the garden community, Lake Havasu has twice been featured during has more than 21,000 plants, including 139 which are MTV’s Spring Break coverage. rare or endangered. Desert Dove Bed and Breakfast: Peaceful place to stay L’Auberge de Sedona: The resort features 61 newly with a romantic private entrance next to the Saguaro renovated luxury cottages and 26 lodge-styled National Park, which offers outstanding birding and guestrooms with panoramic views of Sedona’s hiking. spectacular Red Rocks. Enchantment Resort: Sophisticated rooms with Loews Ventana Canyon Resort: This chic, adobe-style Southwestern decor featuring outdoor decks with views hotel and its golf courses are also 6 miles from Fort Lowell, of Sedona’s red-rock mountains. a historic cavalry post. Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: This upscale resort London Bridge Resort: The London Bridge was bought is 1.3 miles from the TPC Scottsdale golf club, home for $2.5 million from the City of London, disassembled, to the PGA Waste Management Phoenix Open. shipped to Lake Havasu City and reassembled. 124

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PERFECT BACKDROP: The surrounding Sonoran Desert served as the inspiration for the design of the Boulders Resort & Spa. Maricopa Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn: Like a privileged guest in a private residence, guests enjoy a personalized experience at this hacienda-style bedand-breakfast. Matterhorn Inn: Situated in the heart of Sedona’s famous uptown district, this one-of-a-kind hotel in Sedona offers affordable accommodations and amazing views. Miraval Resort & Spa: The property has been consistently ranked as one of the world’s top destination spas by Travel + Leisure, SpaFinder and Condé Nast Traveler. Musical Instrument Museum: MIM has been recognized by TripAdvisor as one of the Top 20 museums in the U.S. and is rated the No. 1 attraction in Phoenix by TripAdvisor.

Phoenix Art Museum: The Southwest United States’ largest art museum for visual art, it hosts festivals, live performances, independent art films and educational programs. Phoenix International Raceway: The motorsport track opened in 1964 and currently hosts two NASCAR race weekends annually. Pink Jeep Tours: Scenic, off-road and high adventure fun in the spectacular red rock country of Sedona. Rancho de los Caballeros: Established in 1948, Rancho de los Caballeros is a family-owned guest ranch resort in the High Sonoran Desert in Wickenburg. Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass: Arizona’s largest western-themed attraction where guests can AB | January - February 2016




WHERE THE STARS STAY: Bette Davis, Roy Rogers, Bing Crosby, Frankie Avalon, Humphrey Bogart, Betty Grable, Janet Leigh, Marilyn Monroe, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant and Tony Curtis were known to have stayed at the Hotel Valley Ho. experience a taste of life in the Old West. Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain: Named by Forbes Travel Guide as the only resort in Arizona to receive a ‘Forbes 5-Star Hotel’ rating. Royal Palms Resort and Spa: Ranked one of Travel+Leisure’s “World’s Best Hotels,” the historic resort and spa is a AAA 4-Diamond destination. Talking Stick Resort: The architectural design mirrors the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community through the use of native stones, plants and earth-tone colors. Tanque Verde Ranch: The dude ranch was named a “Top Ten Family Resort” by the Travel Channel and a “Top Five Ranch” by Condé Nast Traveler. The Boulders Resort & Spa: With two championship golf courses, unique accommodations and an expansive spa, 126

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Boulders is recognized as one of the top resorts in the world. The Hermosa Inn: Built in the 1930s, this luxury boutique hotel’s restaurant serves regional comfort fare using ingredients grown on site. The Phoenician: From sun-soaked, outdoor activities, to exclusive accommodations, this AAA Five-Diamond resort reaches beyond expectation to deliver the exceptional. Tubac Golf Resort & Spa: Set against a mountain backdrop, this storied Spanish colonial golf resort occupies a 500-acre ranch first settled in 1789. Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort: Features more than 1,000 slot machines, table games, poker, live Keno, 200 resort rooms, indoor pool and six dining options.

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Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association 2016  
Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association 2016