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Tourism official expects 2016 Cactus League will set revenue record

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PHOENIX — When it comes to Cactus League tourism revenue, 2016 is on track to be a record-breaking year.

“March is our busiest month in terms of lodging and tourism in Maricopa County,” Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, said.

In 2015, nearly two million fans attended at least one spring training game.

“Every one of our ballparks reported more business,” Cactus League Baseball Association President Mark Coronado said at the time. “We expect some of our teams to draw well every year, but this season every community experienced the positive growth in our industry.”

Many of those fans stayed in hotels, dined out at various restaurants and explored other activities in the greater Phoenix area.

Every time a tourist visits a local hotel, eatery or other business, it means dollar signs for the state.

“When you think about that number, it is just amazing,” Johnson said. “We have 15 teams, 10 stadiums and I think the economic impact number was almost $550 million.”

Johnson said the Cactus League continues to grow year-over-year as a crucial revenue generator for Valley businesses. It also puts our state on the map as a premiere tourism destination.

“It is just such a great thing for all of us, not just for visitors but for those of us who live here,” she said. “It is another quality of life benefit that we get.”

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