The Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a new agreement to continue collaborative tourism marketing across Cochise County.

At its regular meeting on December 3, the Board heard the tourism Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) updates the current IGA between the County and its municipal partners to pool financial resources for regional marketing. The partnership, previously the Cochise County Tourism Council but now called the Cochise County Tourism & Economic Council (CCTEC), includes Bisbee, Benson, Douglas, Sierra Vista, and Willcox. Former member Tombstone is currently looking to consolidate its marketing funds and work with a consultant to promote the historic city.

The CCTEC is the designated Destination Marketing Organization for Cochise County and partners with the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) to promote the area across the state and beyond.

In its 2017-2020 Strategic Plan, the Board named economic development and tourism marketing as one of its top priorities. Tourism is Arizona’s number one industry and latest figures from the AOT show tourism spending has increased in Cochise County, amounting to $330.5 million in 2018, compared to $327.2 million in 2017, and $306.7 million the previous year. Local tourism tax receipts also climbed from $13.3 million in 2017 to $14 million last year.

The CCTEC comprises the city managers and County Administrator, who determine policy and provide direction to the marketing coordinator. The updated IGA will automatically renew annually for the next three years and is pending approval by the member city councils.

In other business, the Board also accepted a $187,206.36 grant to support the County’s emergency management operations. The annual federal funding, provided though the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, allows the County to support emergency preparedness, response, and recovery.

The grant is a 50 percent cost match, with funds already budgeted by the County.