COVID-19 could impact Arizona tourism for several years

COVID-19 could impact Arizona tourism for several years

PHOENIX – The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted a lot of things this year, and it's expected to have a lasting impact on Arizona's travel industry.

"The travel industry is taking a disproportionate hard hit from this COVID-19, down 45%, which means the industry this year will have lost US$520 billion, 8.1 million unemployed," U.S. Travel Association’s president Roger Dow said.

Dow says the latest numbers are some of the worst the country has ever seen.

"To put in perspective, the Great Depression was 25%, the worst year unemployed. This is 51% of the travel industry. So we got some real problems, and we've got to bring this industry back because it's what drives America," he said.

The latest forecast, released in June, shows travel is way down from last year overall, and it might stay down through 2023. Despite the dire news, Dow said there's a glimmer of hope for Arizona and other western states.

"We’re doing a lot of research and there's no question about it. Americans are saying they feel more comfortable in the West. They feel more comfortable outdoors, so you're going to get more than your fair share of the travelers, they’re going to flock to those areas," he said.

Megan Trummel, with Visit Phoenix, is working to help local businesses survive the pandemic.

"We know that that health and cleaning practices are going to be very top of mind for the visitors as they're choosing their destination. So we encourage business owners to really take that to heart and make sure that you have really excellent procedures in place, make sure that you're posting them publicly so that people can see them do their research and make sure that they feel comfortable when they come to visit," she said.

Source: AZ Family