TRAVEL IS A $2.2 BILLION INDUSTRY IN PIMA COUNTY Welcome to Visit Tucson’s eighth Tourism Update created to inform you about the economic impact of tourism and the role our organization plays to drive the economy in Tucson and Southern Arizona.
HISTORY OF FILM MAKING IN TUCSON
Tucson has a long history of film, dating back to before 1939 when Columbia Pictures produced
the movie Arizona on Pima County land that would eventually become Old Tucson Studios. Before that, Columbia and other studios filmed mostly on indoor movie sets. By traveling to southern Arizona, they could create realistic outdoor stages with captivating scenery. It didn’t hurt that Tucson was relatively close to the studios of southern California, and the weather could be counted on for near year round filming. Over the years, movie stars like Bing Crosby, Ingrid Bergman and Gene Autry all traveled to southern Arizona to film at Old Tucson Studios. John Wayne starred in four movies filmed here between 1959 and1979. More recently, movie stars including George Clooney, Sharon Stone, and David Duchovny have come to star in studio films such as 3 Kings and The Quick and the Dead and in independent films like Goats and Hot Bath an’a Stiff Drink. And the work hasn’t been limited to movies. Tucson has also been the backdrop for hundreds of commercials, music videos, documentaries, and television programs.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Filming on-location generates direct spending and tax revenue for a community. When production crews come into town they spend money at local hotels and restaurants. They rent equipment, cars and props, pay location fees, shop in our grocery stores, markets and malls. They hire local companies and local workers. In order to attract filming to Tucson and Southern Arizona and to facilitate it once it’s here, the Tucson Film Office was created more than 30 years ago. Because of its impact on tourism, Film Tucson has operated as a department of Visit Tucson since 2003. Filming on location provides an incredible “billboard” to promote a destination to millions of movie goers. Think about the movie Wild starring Reese Witherspoon and what it did to promote the Pacific Crest Trail. How about the attention Albuquerque received for the AMC series Breaking Bad? According to a study conducted by the audit firm Ernst & Young, tourism in New Mexico increased 4.3% as a result of films and TV shows shot there.
THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF FILM TUCSON
During the five-year period, 2010-2015, the Tucson Film Office worked on 362 projects that generated $45 million in direct spending, 23,486 job days for area film crews and 19,183 hotel room nights.
Of these 362 projects, feature films represent only 6% of the projects, but 30% of the direct spending. While feature films tend to be the most lucrative, they’re also the most difficult to attract as the competition is fierce. Over 40 states – including New Mexico and Utah – offer incentives to encourage filming in their states, while Arizona does not. Currently, we are actively and successfully targeting TV series and episodes, commercials and independent feature films, which aren’t as reliant on incentives. We’re especially proud of the independent film 600 Miles, which won the Best First Feature Award in2015 at the Berlin Film Festival, and filmed here for two weeks in 2014.For more information, visit FilmTucson.com
If you need ideas on how to entertain visiting family and friends or you simply want to explore Tucson andSouthern Arizona, please go to VisitTucson.org or stop by Visit Tucson’s Visitor Center located at110 S. Church Ave. in La Placita Village in Downtown Tucson.
Visit Tucson is a 501c6, nonprofit organization charged with bringing visitors and visitor spending to our region.Visit Tucson Tourism Update is an advertisement produced by Visit Tucson and paid via the organization’s private-sector funds.