WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Senator Steve Daines (Mont.) introduced bipartisan legislation boosting Arizona’s outdoor recreational tourism industry. The Senators’ legislation protects critical jobs in Arizona’s outdoor recreational outfitting and guiding services.
“We’re boosting Arizona’s outdoor recreational tourism industry, fueling job creation, and expanding recreational opportunities across our state,” said Sinema.
“Montana’s beautiful landscape and unmatched hunting, fishing and hiking has made it a destination for folks from around the world, but our outdoor recreation economy would not be the same without our outfitters and guides. We must pass this bill that will reduce burdensome red tape making it harder for Montana small businesses to employ outfitters and guides, especially during heavy tourism seasons,” said Daines.
Sinema and Daines’ legislation exempts outfitters and guides from burdensome overtime hour requirements designed for very different industries. These requirements can increase the costs of multi-day trips and force outfitting companies to replace guides halfway through the trip when they reach the 40-hour limit. When it is not practical to replace guides, companies may opt not to offer as many multi-day trips, negatively impacting Arizona’s tourism economy, especially in Northern Arizona.
Most guides work part-time during the summer season and are paid a daily rate and work several days in a row. Rules revolving around a traditional 40-hour work week do not appropriately fit the unique circumstances of backcountry guides. Sinema’s bipartisan legislation addresses this issue and makes outdoor recreational outfitters on par with similar industries, such as ski and seasonal amusement or recreation locations.
Arizona’s outdoor recreation is a $21.2 billion industry, producing $1.4 billion annually in state and local revenue. Many of the 201,000 Arizona jobs supported by the outdoor economy are in rural communities, where they often have significant economic impact.