2018 Unity Dinner Presented by The Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association
Honoring Governor of Arizona Doug Ducey and Governor of Sonora Claudia Pavlovich
The Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association celebrated 80 years of advocacy, collaboration, and education at the 2018 Unity Dinner. This year’s event gathered a historic turnout of top Arizona lawmakers, business executives, and community leaders. Hosted by Robin Sewell of Arizona Highways Television, the event recognized individuals and organizations whose efforts have led to prosperous growth in the lodging and tourism industries. Sewell noted, “The economic impact of travel and tourism is irrefutable.”
Arizona Chamber CEO Glenn Hamer moderated a Q&A with Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and Sonora Governor Claudia Pavlovich. They spoke on the collaborative, more than neighborly, relationship between Arizona and Mexico, and discussed topics ranging from trade to tourism, and transportation. Governor Pavlovich referred to Ducey as, “more than a neighbor” and “a good, good friend,” while Governor Ducey explained how their strong partnership turned friendship has led to huge accomplishments in a short period of time.
Throughout the conversation the two governors highlighted the mutual benefits of tourism, referencing Mexico as the number one international market for visitation to Arizona, with 3.7 million overnight visitors in 2016. The National Governors Association recently held its North American Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona, which brought governors from around the U.S., as well as nine governors from Mexico and premiers from Canada. Governor Pavlovich addressed the significance of the event and its cultivation of international relationships. She also spoke on the importance of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Governor Ducey addressed the importance of safety and cooperation between law enforcement agencies, and allowing visitors enjoyable experiences. Governor Pavlovich noted Arizona and Sonora’s complementary climates for tourism, with snow in Northern Arizona and beaches in Sonora. Travel between the two states is nothing but beneficial for the people and economies of the region.
Hamer concluded the discussion with a question about next steps to advance the relationship between Arizona and Sonora, and the entire country of Mexico, for years to come. Governor Ducey described how he and Governor Pavlovich have worked hard to create a transparent, lasting relationship that will far outlive their administrations. He talked about travel through Sky Harbor International Airport and the use of pre-clearance border checkpoints, and aiding businesses with perishable products. Governor Pavlovich expanded on the idea of a “Two Nation Vacation” and the opportunity to increase prosperity by utilizing the beautiful scenery that Arizona and Sonora have to offer. Both governors talked of a momentum that cannot be stopped.
Governor Pavlovich and Governor Ducey remain committed to enhancing prosperity and opportunity for the region by spearheading numerous economic development announcements and initiatives. Their discussion at the 2018 Unity Dinner was informative and encouraging, outlining a positive future for the relationship between Arizona and Sonora. The overwhelming attendance and support shown at this event was promising as top executives and change-makers realize that the tourism industry is vital to economic growth in Arizona.