The Economic Impact of Arizona Highways Magazine (AHM) on State Tourism

The Arizona Highways Magazine (AHM) has shown a compelling influence on people’s decision to travel to and through Arizona. A 2010 Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) research study on the impact of AHM on Arizona’s tourism, showed that about 29 percent of the magazine’s out-of-state subscribers attributed their most recent trip in Arizona to AHM. Another 27 percent indicated they stayed longer in Arizona due to AHM. In terms of economic efficiency, the study reported AHM had a benefit/cost ratio of 7.8 to 1.0, which means that for every $1.00 spent for the production and operations of the magazine, the state economy benefits at least $7.80 in direct tourism expenditures. In the 2010 study, the impact of the magazine was assessed but not that of the overall AHM brand, which includes products such as calendars and stationery, books, and home décor; brand name licensing; and a presence in social media. Moreover, some operational factors have been identified that may challenge the magazine’s continued influence on people’s travel decision making. Most important of these factors is the overall industry decline in magazine subscriptions and newsstand sales. An expanded update of the 2010 study is being proposed to assess the influence of the AHM brand on people’s travel decisions to and through Arizona and quantify its economic impact through tourism. The primary objective of the study is to determine and monetize the level of influence the AHM brand has on Arizona travel decisions made by out-of-state visitors and in-state residents. The study will include, at a minimum: (1) Demographic profile of tourists (age, gender, etc.) who are influenced by the AHM brand to travel in Arizona; (2) Characteristics of the trips made by those tourists (destination, lodging choices, activity choices, etc.); (3) Economic impact, in dollars, of the AHM brand, including social media; and (4) Recommendations that would inform the AHM future operational strategies.