Arizona tourism spending was hammered by closures and restrictions caused by COVID-19, falling $9 billion year-over-year through August.
The figures, released from the Arizona Office of Tourism, are a stark reminder of how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted one of the state’s leading industries.
“This data paints a bleak, but accurate picture of the importance of tourism to our economy and the steep challenges our industry faces in working toward recovery,” said Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, in a press release. “This is why we’re so focused on growing consumer confidence and promoting Arizona road trips and staycations.”
The monthly report shows Arizona visitors spent about $1 billion, or 60%, less in August than they did for the same month the year prior. The total amount spent in August by tourists was $641 million, enough to support about 79,000 hospitality industry jobs, according to the AOT.
Through the first eight months of the year, tourism spending was down 51% to $8.5 billion compared with the same time during 2019. That represents $9 billion that was not spent by tourists this year compared with last year.
Tourism spending has more impact than just jobs. It represents a lack of money coming into state coffers. August tourism spending meant a drop of tax revenue of 58% compared with 2019 as the state brought in $27.8 million.
For the year the situation is similar. Through eight months, the amount of taxes collected through travel spending is down nearly 50% to $357 million through the first eight months of the year.