The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show has been a cornerstone of Arizona’s equestrian heritage since 1955. Since then, it has grown from 50 to 2,400 horses and is the world’s most renowned Arabian horse event. It returns February 16th through the 26th at WestWorld of Scottsdale.
Its tourism horsepower is substantial. An estimated 300,000 people a year attend the event which over nearly two weeks generates nearly $98 million a year in direct economic activity in Scottsdale, according to previous estimates.
In addition to competitions and displays of some of the world’s finest Arabian horses, the 11-day event also features gala parties, equestrian education seminars, an international cuisine court, and more than 250 vendor booths offering everything from lavish jewelry, clothing, and works of art.
The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show brings in tourists and revenue from across the country and across the globe. According to a 2020 report from CH Johnson Consulting, 48% of the attendees are from out of state, and 3.4% are from outside the United States. More than 10% of attendees have incomes exceeding $250,000 a year.
This substantial presence not only generates national and international acclaim for the event, but it also gives Scottsdale priceless exposure as a tourism destination. The event website receives 219,000 visits a month and live streams of the event in 2020 generated almost 480,000 views.
A 2006 study, which the Show is seeking to update over the next year, showed that the event generated an estimated $986,000 in tax revenues for the City of Scottsdale. Adjusted for inflation (2.4% per year), that number would be more than $1.4 million today.
And there is room to grow. According to a 2017 study commissioned for the American Horse Council, the horse industry contributes approximately $50 billion a year in direct economic impact to the U.S. economy.
This year’s Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show begins February 16th and runs through the 26th at WestWorld of Scottsdale.
Executive Director Taryl O’Shea said, “The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and its related events have been a consistent revenue generator for the City of Scottsdale contributing to the local economy and the city’s tax base. The maintenance and upkeep of WestWorld is a critical part of this economic engine, not only for our event but for countess other equestrian events that do or could make use of this signature facility. The dollars invested in WestWorld contribute significant horsepower to the Scottsdale and Arizona economy. And unlike the Super Bowl which comes to Arizona every decade or so, The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show is every year.”
Other shows in Scottsdale hosted by the organization include the American Cup Championship and the National Breeders Finals, which attract thousands of additional attendees and related economic activity throughout the year.
The impact of the shows extends well beyond short term economic activity. Many Arabian horse owners purchase second properties and open company offices in Scottsdale. Many spend much of the year in Arizona as Scottsdale is known as the Mecca for the Arabian horses worldwide.
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