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Jun 17, 2016  ( 2 posts )  
6/17/2016
10:00 pm
John Merideth (jmerideth)

Canadians Good for Southeastern Arizona's Economy - 2/5/16

 

By:  Larry Catten, Economic Development Planner  February 5, 2016

At a forum held last April in Benson, it was estimated Arizona would attract more than 1 million Canadian tourists in 2015, bringing $1 billion to the state’s economy. It’s likely a substantial amount of that windfall is benefiting the SEAGO region.

A similar forum was held January 22nd to acquaint the local real estate community with the enormous potential for selling residential property to Canadians visiting Cochise County during the winter season. The forum, sponsored by the Southeast Arizona Association of Realtors (SAAR), the Southeastern Arizona Economic Development Group (SAEDG), and the Southeastern Arizona Governments Organization (SEAGO) was led Mr. R. Glenn Williamson, Director of the Canada Arizona Business Council and Canadian Honorary Consul to Arizona. Mr. Williamson presented a compelling case that the economic relationship between Canada and the U.S. is very strong, and his remarks focused on three major topics: 

  • The enormous economic impact that 1 million Canadian visitors to Arizona has with respect to tourism, business investment, and residential property acquisition
  • Strong evidence that Canadians are a growing market for residential properties in Arizona
  • Strategies for marketing real estate and real estate agent services to Canadian visitors


Mr. Williamson noted that even though the Canadian dollar has declined in value relative to the U.S. dollar, it has not had a significant negative impact on Canadian visitors to southern Arizona. He also indicated that many Canadians have grown weary of the Florida and California environments and have selected Arizona as their winter location of choice. Many are enamored by the “old west” ambiance of Cochise County, and of those Canadians who visit here during the winter months, there is a substantial number who are considering purchasing property to make Arizona their permanent winter vacation location; even permanent residence. From the questions and comments of local realtors, it was apparent that the local real estate community understood the real potential of economic development in our community by attracting Canadians to visit Cochise County, and creating a friendly environment for Canadians to invest here.

Given the fact that every year Arizona attracts nearly 1 million Canadian visitors to our winter sunshine, SEAGO strongly believes we need to be aware of the economic impact that Canadians have in our regional economy. Canadian tourism, and the business investment and property acquisition spin-offs, is an important consideration in our economic development efforts, and we need to do everything reasonably possible to maximize the positive Canadian tourism trade in our area. To that end, SEAGO offered to follow-up the forum by sponsoring some interactive discussions between local realtors and those in Cochise County responsible for economic development and tourism. A united and leveraged effort by Cochise County professionals in tourism, economic development, and real estate to attract Canadians to visit and invest in Cochise County can be a powerful vehicle to bring new dollars to the community and to the SEAGO region.

6/17/2016
9:57 pm
John Merideth (jmerideth)

CEDS - A Roadmap for Regional Economic Development - 12/4/15

 

By:  Larry Catten, Economic Development Planner December 4, 2015

Imagine embarking on a trip through a foreign country such as China without the benefit of a roadmap.  If you spoke the language, you could ask for directions as you went, but no matter how proficient your language skills, you would inevitably find yourself lost, retracing your route and wasting a great deal of time, money and other finite resources.  The same is true of a region attempting to find its way to economic prosperity without a comprehensive plan to guide its effort. 

 

Designated as an Economic Development District by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA) in 1991, the SouthEastern Arizona Governments Organization (SEAGO) is responsible to implement EDA’s goals of economic growth and job creation.  To provide structure and guidance to SEAGO’s economic development initiatives – a roadmap if you will – the EDA requires that SEAGO develop a five year strategic plan entitled the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS).  The current CEDS is for the years 2010 – 2015, and while the existing plan has been updated each year to address contemporary economic development needs, SEAGO is now actively engaged in developing the 2016 – 2020 CEDS.

 

Developing the CEDS involves an extensive and detailed process of determining the major economic development needs in each community in the SEAGO region, which includes Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, and Santa Cruz counties.  This requires developing strategies, objectives, and tactics that will facilitate progressive economic development in the region and performance measurements to evaluate progress.  And in order to develop a relevant five year strategic plan it’s critical to involve, and rely upon, interested and knowledgeable individuals from throughout the SEAGO region; individuals who understand the economic needs of their communities, appreciate the needs of other communities, and are able to develop strategies that address their community’s economic development needs without losing sight of the collective and diverse needs of the region.  To that end, a CEDS Committee has been established consisting of local elected officials, government representatives, and private citizens from across the region. 

 

With a strong CEDS Committee now in place, the process of developing the 2016 – 2020 CEDS involves the following primary elements:

 

  1. An assessment of each community’s and the region’s economic strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, commonly known as a SWOT analysis.  Because of the economic diversity in the region, this analysis is being completed by assembling the CEDS Committee members in a sub-regional format to address the economic conditions, and needs, in their respective areas.
  2. At the conclusion of the sub-regional SWOT meetings there will be three sessions of the entire CEDS Committee, over a four month period, in which they will review and discuss the SWOT analysis, the socio-economic and demographic data prepared by SEAGO staff, and viable regional economic development strategies. 
  3. The CEDS Committee will make final decisions and recommendations regarding economic development strategies, objectives, and tactics that SEAGO should pursue over the five year period.
  4. The CEDS will be published for public review and comment for a 30 day period, after which the CEDS Committee will consider all comments received and incorporate any changes that are necessary and appropriate.

 

While the CEDS development process is a challenging and time consuming effort, it will provide enormous benefit in focusing SEAGO’s economic development efforts with and for the counties, cities, and towns that it serves.  Once approved by the EDA, the CEDS will be the roadmap to guide and facilitate SEAGO’s role as a relevant economic development partner and a conduit for EDA grants for economic development initiatives. 

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