Meet 7 Exceptional AZ Tourism Leaders in 7 Days for 2023 National Travel & Tourism Week


PHOENIX (May 5, 2023) Travel is essential in stimulating economic growth, creating job opportunities and bringing together friends, families and communities. But what’s essential to all travel are the exceptional industry professionals who work tirelessly to deliver these experiences to Arizonans and visitors throughout the year.

Arizona’s tourism industry directly supported more than 184,000 jobs in 2022. As we celebrate 2023 National Travel and Tourism Week, starting on Sunday, May 7, the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) will share some of the stories of these remarkable individuals. The experiences, insights and wisdom from their Arizona tourism journeys will be highlighted through select profiles, shared one per day, from AOT’s popular Grand Connection series.

Lisa Urias, Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, emphasized the importance of celebrating industry professionals, stating, “It is our privilege to honor and recognize the incredible people employed in our travel industry at every level statewide. We are proud to share their experiences, insights and wisdom from their Arizona tourism journey.”

Start the week by meeting Angel Delgadillo, known by many titles, but perhaps most importantly, the person who saved Arizona’s Historic Route 66, which is enjoyed by countless visitors to this day.

“Arizona’s the heart and soul of the Route 66 experience, and that’s largely because of Angel,” said Roger Naylor, longtime Arizona travel writer and author.

Follow along May 7-13 @AZTourismNews on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to meet other tourism leaders including ONE Community’s Angela Hughey, who shares the importance of welcoming policies and the immense benefits of running toward difficult conversations.

Later in the week, Tread Lightly’s Matt Caldwell shares how he mixes a love of motorized outdoor recreation with sustainable tourism principles. Then meet Superior’s “Mayor Mila” Besich, who shares the secrets to successfully running a small Arizona town and launching a rebrand during the pandemic.

The Grand Canyon State’s tourism experiences are as diverse as they are legendary. Follow along with AOT each day during 2023 National Travel and Tourism Week (May 7-13, 2023) to meet seven truly special Arizonans.

2023 National Travel and Tourism Week
National Travel and Tourism Week is an annual celebration of the travel industry’s essential role in stimulating economic growth, cultivating vibrant communities, creating quality job opportunities and elevating the quality of life for all. It runs Sunday, May 7 - Saturday, May 13, 2023.


Media Contact: Josh Coddington, (480) 438-4700, [email protected]

About the Arizona Office of Tourism: The Arizona Office of Tourism works to strengthen and grow Arizona's economy through travel and tourism promotion, positioning Arizona as the leading tourism destination for domestic and international travelers. In 2021, tourism employed more than 167,000 Arizonans and contributed over $3.4 billion in tax revenue to our federal, state and local economies.