You can get almost nowhere in a hurry in Tucson this week, and it's a good sign for the economy.
The winter visitor season is in full bloom, with the Tucson Gem and Mineral Shows culminating, other events in the offing and the marvelous weather drawing people from colder climes, say the people who promote local tourism.
Recovery from the recession is fully evident, says Jessica Stephens, director of public relations for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"Tucson is bustling right now, and a lot of that is due to the gem show, which is in town through February 12th," she says. "But on the tail of that are upcoming events, our signature events. We have the rodeo, Accenture Match Play tournament up at Dove Mountain. It's a combination of things."
Stephens says the gem shows are drawing upwards of 55,000 to town over their two-week run, which ends this weekend with the big gem spectacle at the Tucson Convention Center.
But she and Vince Trinidad, the convention and visitors bureau's director of sports development, say there is much more on offer for locals and visitors alike.
Trinidad says that by the time the season winds down at the end of March, the city will have hosted 16 significant sports events, from the Fort Lowell Shootout youth soccer tournament in January to the Major League Soccer training camps and the Accenture Match Play golf tournament. See the full list here.
"You take the weather, you take the sports, you take the availability of the facilities we do have, and I think it's going to be a banner year for us in 2012," Trinidad says.