Snowbirds impact on Tucson's economy - Tucson News Now

Snowbirds impact on Tucson's economy

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

After several years of seeing a decline in snowbirds, this year there may be a turnaround.

It's the busy dinner rush at Union Public House in Northwest Tucson. But unlike other months, workers say it's almost twice as busy.

"The dinners are a lot busier now that it's snowbird season. The dinners are a lot busier and we get busier earlier," said one bartender.

Many snowbirds came even earlier this year, like B.J. Kass.

"We don't hang around Chicago to be frozen to death, we just come down here to be in the sun," said Kass.

She, like others are spending their dollars buying groceries, eating out and other essential items.

"The last month and a half, I was thinking... we spent maybe $2,000 buying services from carpet cleaning, handyman, lighting for our yards and those kinds of things," said one snowbird.

John Atkinson owns "Spirit of Santa Fe," in the La Encantada shopping center. He says despite a rough past few years, snowbirds aren't the ones to blame.

"The snowbird effect with the economy, I wouldn't call it bulletproof. But, it's unphased. Some of the local traffic has been down but the snowbird traffic is still very viable," said Atkinson.

Michael Varney with Tucson Metro Chamber says a slight uptick in the economy may mean more snowbirds could be coming to Tucson.

"The first thought that would cross my mind. People would start to see more mobility. They're not necessarily tied down to their homes as they might have been," said Varney.

While Varney did not have any solid numbers, we're told the money snowbirds spend is well into the millions each year.

Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

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