Sinema Examines Pandemic’s Impact on Arizona’s Tourism Industry

Apr 14, 2021

WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema spoke at a Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing and discussed the negative economic impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on Arizona’s tourism industry and her commitment to work across the aisle to provide needed relief.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been very difficult for many Arizona communities, small business owners, and Arizonans who work in the tourism industry. In 2020, spending by domestic and international travelers declined by 35%, hurting local businesses and putting  Arizonans out of work… Given these significant challenges for Arizonans, I will continue to work with my colleagues on the subcommittee to develop bipartisan solutions to these issues and help get Arizona’s tourism industry back to work,” said Sinema.
Sinema highlighted challenges facing Arizona hotels. Estimates show that travelers may not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. The decline in this type of travel hurts Arizona small businesses and thousands of Arizona workers. In 2019, Arizona received over 46 million overnight visitors that generated over $25 billion in direct travel spending and helped support state and local tax revenue.
According to the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association, the pandemic has wiped out 10 years of job growth for Arizona tourism. Sinema stressed that she’ll continue working across the aisle to develop bipartisan solutions to these problems.
In the recent coronavirus-relief law, Sinema secured an extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit to help more workers stay connected to the workforce and help more small businesses and nonprofits across the country.
Arizona’s tourism industry has lost $7 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a 50% unemployment rate in the travel industry alone. Last Congress, Sinema introduced the STEP Act—legislation that helps the tourism and travel industries recover by authorizing $10 billion in funding through existing Economic Development Administration grant programs to provide grants for tourism and travel entities impacted by COVID-19.