Phoenix luring visitors from 'polar vortex'


by Natalie Brand

Posted on January 12, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Updated Sunday, Jan 12 at 3:03 PM

PHOENIX -- As much of North America thaws from a deep freeze brought on by a "polar vortex," Phoenix is flaunting its postcard perfect weather.

The Arizona Office of Tourism and Visit Phoenix are heating up marketing campaigns in bone-chilling cities like Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Minneapolis.

Sigri Jobe and her daughter, Carissa Jobe, both of Minneapolis, Minn., made a spur-of-the-moment decision to escape the frigid weather in the upper Midwest and visit the Valley of the Sun for the first time.

“I was on Priceline, saw a flight to Phoenix for really cheap, and said, ‘Let’s go,’ ” Carissa Jobe explained.

It’s an easy sell, inviting visitors to leave sub-zero temperatures for a place where "swimsuit season never ends." The Arizona Office of Tourism is tempting Chicagoans with a giant sign of a woman wearing a bikini.

Visit Phoenix says its digital billboards promoting a desert getaway will go live next week outside of neighborhoods and transit stations.

Additionally, the agency started sponsoring free Wi-Fi on New York City subways. Before signing on, users watch a 15-second video of Phoenix.

“So far, we’ve seen more than 100,000 views of that video,” said Melissa Gogel, Vice President of Marketing, Tourism and Communications for Visit Phoenix. “We have people signing up for emails on their mobile devices. We’re getting the message out there, so we hope over the next few months, those people make the decision to come out here.”

Julio Peterson, who recently flew to the Valley from New York, says it doesn't take much convincing to draw visitors to Phoenix.

“A lot of people from New York are trying to get away from the cold," He said. "It’s definitely a destination. People know about Phoenix. They just like the good weather and nice people.”