Phoenix city officials breathlessly announced that British Airways will bump service to Sky Harbor from six to seven flights weekly. But let’s parse the puffery and see what that really means for Valley travelers.
Sherry Henry is the new Arizona Office of Tourism director, recently appointed by Governor Jan Brewer. Her goal is to get more people to visit Arizona. She recently answered some questions posed by The Arizona Republic. I think she missed a great chance to address some real issues, so I’d have to give her a grade of C. There were three particular questions in her interview that I wish I could’ve answered for her: Getting foreign travelers to Arizona, helping Arizona residents find more of the state’s unsung treasures and identifying her favorite place in the state. Really, I think Henry needs to think more like a traveler. She needs to better understand the obstacles people face in getting here, and she needs to know that there are many alternatives that offer much of what Arizona does – golf, shopping and sun. And those need to stop being the main weapons in her arsenal. If Henry wants travelers to visit Arizona, she must start with Phoenix Sky Harbor International (in name only) Airport One lousy daily flight to London along with a few to Canada and Latin America do not a true international airport make. The lack of international flights should deeply embarrass the officials of America’s fifth-most populous city. People want to get to their destinations quickly, with as few stopovers as possible. Henry identifies her craving for French, Japanese and German tourists – but she doesn’t say “I’m going to work with Sky Harbor officials to do everything [...]