Gem show draws crowds, tourism numbers up

Gem show draws crowds, tourism numbers up
(Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Is Tucson booming?

The latest tourism numbers show strong growth in the Tucson area. That trend is expected to continue with the Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show in town right now.

"Colleagues, friends, vendors, customers travel to our desert city from every corner of the planet," said CEO of Aerolite Meteorites, Geoff Notkin.

Gem and mineral show related travel often means big bucks for Tucson tourism.

It's part of why Notkin planted his roots for work in the Old Pueblo fourteen years ago.

Before that, he was one of many tourists headed to Tucson every year for the Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show.

Notkin said, "For a guy like me that lived in London and grew up in New York for many years -- it has fantastic wonder."

He told Tucson News Now he's seen the show grow more and more each year with packed tents, more customers and more jobs.

It's a worldwide draw to more than forty gem shows in our desert town.

Brittney Meyst, a local vendor told us, "We have a lot of clients from Hong Kong, really all over -- Australia, Canada, and everywhere."

The draw is not just for the gem show, but year round.

New numbers from Visit Tucson show lodging numbers up more than 13 percent, showing up Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Palm Springs.

Tucson was also ranked 21st out of 100 in up and coming cities by Time Magazine for many of the reasons that drew Notkin to the town in the first place.

"Tucson is such a friendly city and it's such a draw for adventurous people with the landscape, the geology, and the mining industry here," said Notkin.

The Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show is expected to bring in around $120 million for the city this year.

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