Local First Arizona Foundation Wins Governor's Tourism Award for WeekendZona

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The Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism (GCOT) is an annual conference that brings together travel professionals and destination marketers for educational and networking opportunities. Each year at the GCOT Gala dinner, seven awards are presented for a variety of outstanding contributions to tourism around the state. 

Tourism is Arizona’s No. 1 export industry, and each year GCOT provides its attendees the opportunity to exchange ideas with peers, learn from expert panelists, draw inspiration from nationally renowned speakers, and discover cutting-edge products and services.

This year, Local First Arizona Foundation was the winner of the Outstanding Tourism Partnership - Rural for our WeekendZona program. WeekendZona aims to redirect the billions of dollars that Arizonans spend vacationing out of state into our unique and diverse small towns. By creating a curated experience to showcase each small town in its best light, we expose Arizonans to hidden gems and create measurable economic impact in these communities. 

 Our WeekendZona group from our trip to Douglas, Arizona, in July 2018. 

Our WeekendZona group from our trip to Douglas, Arizona, in July 2018. 

This year's WeekendZona programming introduced dozens of local travelers to the communities of Globe-Miami, Camp Verde, and Douglas as well as Pinetop-Lakeside later this year. The goal is to showcase the unique local features of these communities and encourage local families to travel and invest in their home state. We partner with each of these communities to leverage their assets and create a special itinerary for our guests to get the true local flavor of the community. 

 WeekendZona travelers kayaking the Verde River in Camp Verde in May 2018.

WeekendZona travelers kayaking the Verde River in Camp Verde in May 2018.

All 2018 GCOT award winners include: 

  • Outstanding Marketing Campaign - Rural - Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau - Sedona Northern Lights Events
  • Outstanding Marketing Campaign - Urban - Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa - Nirvana
  • Outstanding Tourism Partnership - Rural - Local First Arizona Foundation - WeekendZona
  • Outstanding Tourism Partnership - Urban - Scottsdale Parada del Sol Parade & Trail's End Festival
  • Outstanding Arizona Culture and Historic Preservation - Hopi Festival of Arts & Culture - Museum of Northern Arizona
  • Tourism Spirit of Service - Shonto Community Governance
  • Tourism Hall of Fame - Roger Naylor

We will be rolling out the 2019 WeekendZona schedule in the coming months, as we plan to visit even more small-town communities across the state. Thank you GCOT for the recognition and support of this program that is building opportunity from the ground up.