New Name for Town of Tusayan?

“To change, or not to change… that is the question.” The town of Tusayan adjacent to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is considering changing its name to better market to tourists.

At last week’s town council meeting, Tusayan Mayor Greg Bryan said his town is often confused with Tucson. He claimed this has a negative effect on the town’s economy and identity.

grand canyon name change

Since Tusayan is less than seven miles from the Grand Canyon South Rim and its economy depends almost exclusively on tourism from the national park, one of the proposed new names was “The Town of Grand Canyon.” “Grand Canyon South” was also mentioned as a possible name that would better reflect its ties to the Grand Canyon.

There were objections, however, to renaming the small town. Critics are concerned with Tusayan’s history and the potentially high costs that would come with a new name. Changing the town’s name would mean changing logos, stationary and signage. The new name might also encourage confusion with mail, especially if the national park and Tusayan (possibly named “Town of Grand Canyon”) keep the same zip code.

Tusayan is one of Arizona’s smallest towns with a population of 550 but impossible to miss by the thousands of people who drive to the South Rim every day. With its modest scattering of hotels, restaurants, gift shops, and luxury car rental places— some of which already use Grand Canyon in branding — Tusayan’s history dates to before the creation of Grand Canyon National Park.

The Tusayan Town Council will hold a community meeting in April regarding the recent proposal. They could also refer the name change to the August ballot. Town officials believe it would make good business sense to change the name, but they want to make sure the community is happy with the decision.

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Tusayan made headlines last year for advocating to keep Grand Canyon National Park open during the government shutdown.