Annual Awards Luncheon Honors Local Partners
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TEMPE, ARIZ. (Jan. 19, 2024) — The Tempe Tourism Office welcomed partners to its annual luncheon Jan. 16, 2024, at Arizona State University’s Old Main on the Tempe campus.
Each year, this event provides the Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) an opportunity to share its past successes and future endeavors in attracting meetings and leisure travelers to the City of Tempe as well as its hotels, venues, restaurants and attractions.
Following the theme, “Small Acts, Big Impacts,” this year‘s event kicked off with a keynote from Chakisse Newton, followed by a presentation of the organization’s achievements throughout the past year.
“As we kick off 2024, I want to express my thanks for the support of our staff and our partners. This is an incredibly talented group of people who strive to ensure Tempe is always top of mind when it comes to attracting visitors to our city,” said Michael Martin, Tempe Tourism Office President & CEO. “From group and sports bookings to our seasonal ad campaigns and digital media presence, our efforts wouldn’t be possible without the enthusiasm of our amazing partners. The work of our staff and hospitality community is an asset for the City of Tempe as we welcome visitors from around the globe.”
According to Tourism Economics’ 2022 Economic Impact Study, the impact of tourism resulted in $4.2 million visitors to Tempe; $1 billion in direct visitor spending; $109 million generated in state and local taxes; and 8,400 total tourism related jobs in Tempe.
Additionally, Tempe Tourism Office’s 2023 highlights included:
- an increase of 11% in group sales leads, with a 46% increase (YOY) in definite bookings, as well as $20,155,132 in economic impact.
- a total of 69 sports related leads, and 33 sports-related events booked, resulting in $31,541,051 in economic impact.
- advertising deployed in key markets totaled 84,727,688 in circulation and ad impressions in addition to 1,393,295 website impressions.
- reaching a follower base of 86,565, social media efforts accounted for 6,798,613 impressions.
According to Martin, an important part of this annual event is recognizing those who have contributed to these milestones, and each year the annual Spirit of Hospitality and Tourism Impact awards are ways to thank the community for opening its arms to all visitors.
The Spirit of Hospitality Award honors an individual who exemplifies Tempe’s local culture of friendliness by consistently delivering exceptional service and creating a positive and lasting impression for visitors.
The 2024 award was presented to Gina Prather, lead bartender at Alibi Rooftop Lounge at Canopy by Hilton Tempe Downtown, where she makes everyone feel at home.
According to her nomination, Prather has the innate ability to make you feel like you’re the only person in the room. She is passionate about hospitality, takes pride in all she does and is an amazing cheerleader for her team, and wants them all to succeed right along with her. If everyone’s first impression of Tempe hospitality was meeting Prather, no one would ever go anywhere else.
The Impact Award honors an individual, business or organization that has made a significant impact in Tempe through hosting a meeting, conference or event in our community. OXDX Clothing was selected as the 2024 award recipient — accepted by founder Jared Yazzie and business manager Allie Stone.
This year, OXDX was selected to create a capsule collection as part of “Origins: An NFL Collection,” a grassroots merchandise collaboration program that highlights design talent in NFL event host cities. This year also marked the brand’s fourth year hosting the Native Holiday Market at Tempe Center for the Arts, which brought together 70 Indigenous vendors from Arizona and beyond, as well as musicians, live artists and spoken word performances to an audience of nearly 5,000 attendees.
“OXDX embodies the Tempe Tourism Office’s Tourism Impact Award through their events, local partnerships, social media community building, storytelling and travel — all while representing Tempe and beyond.”
The celebration of community partnerships continued, as the Tempe Tourism Office presented its inaugural Tempe Gem Award, a donation that will benefit local nonprofit organizations moving forward. This year, the award came in the form a $2,000 donation presented to Joe Forte, executive director and founder of Keep Tempe Beautiful.
To conclude the program, Tempe Mayor Corey Woods took the stage to recognize Michael Martin for his more than 30 years of contributions to the Tempe Tourism Office.
With that, the Tempe Tourism Office will turn its attention to what’s on the next horizon for the city.
“As we delve into 2024, our organization has several initiatives lined up that will enable us to continue promoting Tempe as a great destination,” Martin concluded. “We have an exciting year for tourism in Tempe ahead of us and look forward to sharing more with you soon.”
The Tempe Tourism Office is a nonprofit organization devoted to marketing Tempe, Arizona, as a desirable visitor and group destination site. To learn more about Tempe, please call 480-894-8158 or visit us at tempetourism.com.