by Elizabeth Troutman
Gov. Doug Ducey is investing $101.1 million from the federal American Rescue Plan funding to launch the Visit Arizona Initiative to increase tourism spending in Arizona and expedite its economic recovery.
“Tourism is essential for Arizona’s booming economy and job growth,” Ducey said in a release.
He said that when tourists stay at Arizona hotels, eat at restaurants, buy Arizona products, and partake in the state’s recreational activities, Arizona’s economy booms.
“Their investments benefit Arizonans, and the Visit Arizona Initiative will help our tourism sector prosper — and continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic,” Ducey said.
The Visit Arizona Initiative includes marketing funding for destination marketing organizations (DMOs) statewide, reinvigorating local community programs and events, and marketing support for domestic and international flights and outdoor recreation, the governor’s office said.
The initiative additionally provides funding to the Arizona State Parks & Trails for park improvement, legacy golf course revitalization, the Arizona State Fair for marketing, the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association for a workforce initiative and Local First for rural destination development.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Arizona tourism suffered greatly from the decrease in visitor spending, tourism tax revenue, and tourism employment, Ducey’s office said. The press release cited recent data which revealed that Arizona’s 2020 overnight visitation decreased by 31 percent and visitor spending decreased by 41 percent compared to 2019 numbers. He believes the investment will aid communities with the recovery of their tourism industries.
“Thousands of Arizonans who work in the tourism industry were displaced due to the pandemic,” Ducey said. “Now that our economy is strong, jobs are readily available and visitors are coming to our beautiful state, we are making sure employment opportunities continue to grow for hard workers across Arizona.”
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Elizabeth Troutman contributes to The Center Square.