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Coconino News

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hotels across Arizona face stark financial impact of COVID-19


By Sarah Downey | Mar 18, 2020

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In what is usually Arizona’s busiest season for accommodation bookings, hotels around the state are seeing a wave of cancellations amid the coronavirus outbreak.

It began in earnest late last week, and has continued to snowball, despite some establishments slashing rates. One that’s part of a nationwide chain has even temporarily closed its doors.

“This is an unprecedented situation, and we hope everyone in Arizona is listening to the guidance of public health officials and taking all the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their communities safe,” Kim Sabow, President and CEO of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association, said in an email response to the Coconino News. “Our association is providing consistent updates to our members and the general public about the latest developments, recommendations and resources. The health and wellbeing of the public is first and foremost, and our industry is happy to see strong actions to address it, such as the initial $8.3 billion federal supplemental spending bill."

Sabow said they applaud Gov. Doug Ducey for signing a Public Health Emergency Declaration that will provide health officials with the tools needed to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona. 

The COVID-19 financial impact has affected thousands of workers across the state’s hospitality industry.

"Although we are still compiling specific data, the cancellation of major events and the new CDC guidelines to limit events of 50 or more, will continue to adversely impact the travel industry in Arizona and there must be policy steps to address that. In 2018, our state welcomed more than 45.5 million domestic and international overnight visitors, spending $24.4 billion. This activity supported more than 300,000 direct and induced jobs. We are working closely with our state and national partners on policy proposals that will help employers and employees during this challenging time and aid in the recovery effort," Sabow said.

Meanwhile, hotel executives recently met with the Trump administration to request a $250 billion bailout for the industry, to facilitate payments, support employees and help suppliers affected by the rapid drop in business.

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