Flagstaff is seeking to grow awareness in the Australian market of its tourism offering as the gateway to the Grand Canyon and a number of other national parks.
The Arizona town is located an hour’s drive from the Grand Canyon and is easily accessible from Los Angeles and Las Vegas, Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing manager Heather Ainardi explained to Travel Weekly.
“You will be able to fly in direct soon too,” she revealed. “We’ll hopefully be getting Alaska Airlines from LAX to Flagstaff from March next year.”
The new air service is not the only big news story for Flagstaff. It is also getting six new hotels, which will come online over the next two to three years in the “standard economy” segment.
“We’re running at about 80% occupancy annually,” Ainardi said. “In summer, we’re about 92% occupancy which is ridiculous, so we need new inventory.”
Next year is also the 90th anniversary of Route 66 which runs through Flagstaff, so FCVB is getting on board with a campaign promoting 66 things you can do in the town in 2016.
2016 is also the centenary of the National Parks Service, and FCVB is getting in on the NPS celebratory efforts by spreading the word about its proximity to eight national parks within a two mile radius including the Grand Canyon.
Few Aussies think of Arizona as a snow destination, but Flagstaff is home to a number of ski fields which open from November, Ainardi continued. It is also a popular mountain biking destination, and is located by the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest.
“A lot of Australians are very comfortable with LA, Anaheim and Disneyworld, but now they’re ready to explore inland a little bit and we’re right there,” Ainardi said.
She promised an experience that is more local than touristy, with access also to a number of Indigenous experiences including a Navajo retreat where you can stay overnight in an authentic Navajo tent and learn more about the culture.