BENSON — The Arizona Office of Tourism is looking for Benson residents who would be interested in participating in a focus group regarding tourism.

“The Arizona Office of Tourism is working with Arizona State University in developing a ‘resident sentiment survey’ on tourism in order to gain a better understanding of how locals feel about the tourism industry in their area,” said Kiava Couchon, Director of Industry Affairs for the Arizona Office of Tourism. “As part of Benson’s focus group, we’re hoping to include residents from Willcox in the same session.”

The focus group, which is scheduled for Jan. 23 from 7:15 5o 8:45 p.m., will be at the Benson Community Center, 705 W. Union St. in Benson. Organizers are looking for one person per household, and want people who live in Benson at least six months of the year. The session is expected to last no longer than 90 minutes and refreshments will be served.

All those willing to commit to attending the focus group should provide contact information by clicking on the following link: Benson focus group, or by contacting Christine Vogt at, or calling 810-588-3293. Respondents are asked to leave a message with their name and phone number no later than Jan. 13, 2020 to ensure the appropriate number of people can attend.

“It’s important to us that we have both long-term and short-term residents,” said Couchon, who added that the goal is to try and get a mix of people who have lived in the area for awhile, as well as those who are newer to Benson. The survey, Couchon said, is intended to help the office of tourism with its marketing efforts.

While it’s hoped that all who respond will be able to participate in the session, people will be accepted based on when they reply. Respondents will be contacted to confirm participation a few days prior to the focus group.

“We’re also doing focus groups in central Arizona,” Couchon said. “These focus groups give us a good idea on how to market the state by helping us understand the resident perspective of tourism marketing,” added Couchon, who noted that tourism is a 24-billion dollar industry for Arizona and that communities across the state are impacted by it.

Bob Nilson, tourism supervisor for the Benson Visitor Center, says when it comes to tourism’s economic impact, he’s more than familiar with the vital role it plays for Benson and the entire region.

“I’m very glad the Arizona Office of Tourism is taking an interest in some of the smaller communities like Benson and Willcox,” Nilson said. “I’m interested in hearing how locals feel about tourism in our community. Benson’s economy depends on our winter visitors, so anything we can do to market the amazing attractions we have in this area is important for Benson and surrounding communities.”

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