Newsroom | Desert Heat Meets Canadian Cool:

MAG News

Did you know Canada employs more people than any other foreign country in the state?

A Match Making Millions—No, Billions—for Arizona’s Economy

Economic Development

From Circle K to Coldstone Creamery to Magellan Aerospace, the Canadian investment in Arizona’s economy is strong. So strong, in fact, that trade between Arizona and Canada is valued at $3.6 billion, with Arizona exporting $2.1 billion. Arizona has 280 Canadian-owned businesses creating nearly 26,500 jobs, meaning Canadian-owned businesses employ more people in Arizona than those of any other foreign country.

According to Glenn Williamson, Honorary Consulate of Canada and CEO of the Canada Arizona Business Council (CABC), those numbers are only beginning to tap into the potential for future opportunities. Williamson told the Maricopa Association of Government’s (MAG) Economic Development Committee (EDC) that Canadian tourism is the driver. Why?

Williamson says many who come to visit fall in love with Arizona and end up buying homes.

“Tourism equals houses, which equals trade, which equals foreign direct investment,” said Williamson. “If tourism can be increased into the Valley and Arizona, there is a significant chance of increasing all the others.”

Nearly one million Canadians came to Arizona last year, spending close to $1 billion. While that may seem like a lot, Williamson says states such as Florida and California get millions more Canadian visitors and dollars. That fact may have something to do with how Arizona counts Canadian visitors. Currently within the tourism industry, the count only includes visitors who are here fewer than 30 days. Those here 30 days or longer, who are considered “snowbirds,” are not counted. Williamson calls this “a massive unreported piece of business and activity.” The CABC says snowbird spending comes in at about $1.5 billion.

The 200 nonstop flights each week between Canada and Arizona are making a difference, says Williamson. He adds that an increase in proactive work to attract Canadian companies and tourists could make the Valley’s connection with Canada flourish even more. MAG member agencies have been actively engaging in visits to Canada to assist in improving the local and regional economies, and hosted a delegation from Montreal in April.

Published May 20, 2019