The Grand Connection is AOT’s new profile series designed to connect Arizona’s tourism industry through the experiences and insights of those who drive it. We’ll include leaders, but these profiles aren’t limited to only those in the executive office. We’re striving to bring you perspectives from all across our amazingly diverse industry. Everyone has something to share and an experience from which we all can learn.




Amber Scarsella brings a decade of marketing experience to her first role in the tourism industry, having recently joined the Visit Yuma team as marketing & brand manager. Even though she’s new to tourism, she’s shown that she has the key attribute for success in the industry: She loves Yuma!

In this month’s Grand Connection profile, Amber shares her excitement for her new position, why she was attracted to tourism, why it’s OK to ask a million questions and the importance of continually embracing technology.

What attracted you to a career in Arizona’s tourism industry?
I have always enjoyed traveling and have had a love for Arizona landscapes since I moved here in 2012. Getting into a role where I can promote Arizona, Yuma more specifically, comes easy when you enjoy the area. Yuma is an amazing destination here in Arizona that still seems to be a “best-kept secret.” Part of me loves that not many people know a lot about Yuma and the other part wants to share it with the world because of how awesome it is here.

What do you most look forward to learning in your tourism role?
I would love to learn more about tourism marketing as this is my first position in tourism. Marketing in general is a fun industry to be in because you get to interact with so many people all the time and have a hand in many areas, depending on the type of marketing you are in. When you add the element of tourism into marketing I think it elevates the excitement and opportunities.

What has surprised you most so far about your position?
The number of resources that are available for tourism marketing. Not only are there so many grant opportunities or initiatives but the amount of support out there via other companies, networking, and so on is endless.

As a traveler, you never realize everything that is happening behind the scenes of these cities that you are thinking about visiting, but when you are a part of it you start to see it all and it is astonishing.

What would you say to reassure a colleague who’s navigating through an industry challenge?
Ask all of the questions to everyone! Marketing can be a tough industry to navigate and when you begin to dial down into a niche industry you really need to find your resources and use them.

Sometimes, as a newbie, you don’t want to be the person who has to ask a million questions. But it is very helpful to have people around with industry experience to extract information from.

What do you see as our industry’s greatest strength?
We have the opportunity to tell the story of our cities, communities and state. Being in tourism marketing, we have the ability to show everyone the beauty within our respective areas – be it people, events or landscapes. What other industry do you get to show everyone your favorite things about your city or community?!

From your perspective, what opportunities should Arizona’s tourism industry pursue during the next 5 years?
Becoming paperless. We are in an almost total digital age and I think we need to take a serious look at where we can go 100 percent digital. Almost everyone has a phone in their hand the majority of the day. We need to capitalize on that in a way that has a positive impact on our earth from a conservation standpoint.

Which Arizona tourism experience (that you haven’t had yet) are you looking forward to doing?
I have had an amazing opportunity in life to be able to travel around a good majority of the world. The one place here in Arizona that I really want to see is Antelope Canyon! I was traveling this summer and had no idea that it was a reservation system – rookie mistake! I will be going back soon so I can get the opportunity to set my sights on it.