A milestone was reached by Grand Canyon West visitors on December 21, 2015, when the one-millionth visitor came to the area for the first time in a single year. The western rim’s main attraction, as always in recent years, was the Grand Canyon Skywalk. This clear-glass, horseshoe-shaped structure, which opened in 2007 at Eagle Point, allows tourists to walk out beyond the canyon rim, to a point more than 4,000 feet above the canyon floor and riverbed. The one-millionth visitor was either Mike or Jenny Kim, a visiting couple that was honored with all the perks of a complete canyon experience, courtesy of the Grand Canyon Resort Corporation (GCRC). The GCRC is a company owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe, which is in charge of the Skywalk, the Hualapai Lodge, and the Hualapai River Runners.
The Hualapai council chairperson, Sherry Counts, noted that, “This is a very special moment for the Grand Canyon West, the Corporation, and for all of our employees. One million visitors represent an increase of more than 120,000 guests in the past year alone. That’s huge—and these attractions will continue to get better in the year ahead. A new visitors center, a new restaurant, and other new attractions mean more reasons for people to visit in 2016. We want every day and every visit to be memorable for one and all.”
Topping 1 million visitors at Grand Canyon West in 2015 was the culmination of a steady increase in visitors to the region in recent years. It bettered the 882,000 from 2014 and the 827,000 from 2013. Thus, the milestone was a 13-percent increase in visitor numbers within the past year.
The GCRC’s chief executive officer, Mark Mortenson, commented on the achievement by saying, “This has been a fantastic year in terms of business for Grand Canyon West, for the Hualapai Tribe, for tribe members, and for the region. The Tribe and its members’ commitment to economic development and to the attractions and experiences that comprise Grand Canyon West remain strong. One million visitors to Grand Canyon West in the past year means more revenue for the region, more jobs and better quality of life for so many residents. We look forward to performing even better in 2016 and continuing to drive the tourism industry across the region.”