July 23, 2020
July 23, 2020
Dear Members,
The Arizona Office of Tourism hosted the Governor’s Conference on Tourism this week, providing incredible insight into the impact of COVID-19 on our industry and the state’s economy. 

According to the new data, 2019 was the best year on record for the tourism industry with 46.8 million overnight visitors, which was up 2.8% from the previous year. The record number of visitors accounted for a 4.7% increase in visitor spending, bringing that total to $25.6 billion for the year. Tourism also accounted for $3.78 billion in combined local, state and federal tax revenue.

Although 2019 was recording breaking, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely upended the industry resulting in a loss of $7 billion in visitor spending during the first six months of 2020. 

This staggering number emphasizes the importance of the tourism industry to Arizona’s economy and that local, state and federal leaders need to focus on policies to help the industry survive the economic decline and return stronger than before. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AOT has developed a Tourism Strategic Recovery Plan to accelerate the recovery of travel and tourism throughout the state over the next 12-18 months. The AzLTA team is committed to working with AOT, our business community allies and policy leaders to protect Arizona’s tourism industry. 


Kim Grace Sabow
President & CEO

Great American Outdoors Act: The House of Representatives passed the Great American Outdoors Act yesterday, sending the Act to the President for signature. The Great American Outdoors Act would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Further, this bill would establish the National Parks and Public Land Restoration Fund to address the deferred maintenance backlog on public lands. AzLTA joined Rep. Schweikert in a press release applauding the passage of the Act. 

AHLA Urges Support for Industry: The most pressing concerns for our industry right now are access to liquidity and debt service, and liability protection. AHLA sent a letter to Congress, we highlight the critical needs of the hotel industry focused on 4 key priorities, including:

  1. Providing additional liquidity for severely impacted businesses through a targeted extension of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
  2. Creating hotel industry relief opportunities utilizing Federal Reserve and Treasury authority to expand the Main Street Lending Facility and address hotel CMBS borrowers.
  3. Including Limited Liability Language for Hotels and Other Places of Public Accommodation.
  4. Ensuring targeted tax provisions such as credits for capital expenditures, employee retention, travel, and others are included that will benefit severely injured businesses and their employees.
AHLA will continue to work with Congress to ensure that the hotel industry’s top priorities are included in the COVID 4.0 relief package and we will be engaging you to weigh in with your Members of Congress at the appropriate time. Your voice will be critical in ensuring our industry gets the ongoing support we need to keep hotels open and bring back furloughed employees.

Push for Cleaning Incentives Continues: Congressman Tom Rice (R-SC), a member of the House Ways & Means Committee, joined the long list Members seeking to help businesses with enhanced cleaning and reconfiguration costs with the introduction of the Healthy Workplace Tax Credit.  AHLA’s recent survey results showed that the industry is overwhelmingly taking measures to protect guests and employees as we work to reopen safely such as personal protective equipment (PPE), barrier shields, hand sanitizers, enhanced cleaning tools and products and more.  AHLA will continue to work in the House and Senate to ensure the hotel industry remains front and center as these bills are negotiated in the coming weeks.

House Introduces Small Business Proposal: Representatives Filemon Vela (D-TX) and Lance Gooden (R-TX) have introduced H.R. 7671, the Small Business Comeback Act. This bipartisan legislation would establish a federal grant program to assist small businesses with operational expenses so that they may continue to reopen and remain open. By offsetting operational expenditures, businesses will be able to rehire, retain, and provide support for their valued employees. This legislation directs the Secretary of Treasury to appoint a special Administrator to operate a streamlined relief fund that provides nearly instant decisions on loan approvals and quickly distributes funds to businesses that desperately need support. Financial assistance can be used for expenses such as rent, utilities, payroll, and state and local taxes. 
Governor Doug Ducey today extended an executive order pausing operations on gyms, bars, nightclubs, movie theaters, water parks, and tubing. The order also continues to prohibit large public events and enables local law enforcement to take immediate enforcement action to ensure compliance with the order. This extension will be reviewed for repeal or revision every two weeks.

Today’s Executive Order extends provisions of Executive Order 2020-43. Those provisions include: 
Prohibiting Mass Gatherings Statewide
Even if appropriate physical distancing is possible, organized public events of more than 50 people are prohibited. The Executive Order enables local governing jurisdictions, such as the city, town or county, to approve events on the condition of meeting certain safety precautions, such as physical distancing.

Pausing Certain Business Operation

The following establishments shall continue to pause operations:
  • Bars with a series 6 or 7 liquor license from the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control (these entities may provide take-out and curbside service);
  • Indoor gyms and fitness clubs or centers;
  • Indoor movie theaters;
  • Water parks;
  • And tubing operators.
Businesses seeking to resume operations once the pause has been lifted must demonstrate compliance with public health guidance as determined by the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Suspending Special Event Licenses
Under the Executive Order, the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control shall continue to cease issuing special event licenses.
View today’s Executive Order HERE.
We need your help! The November election is quickly approaching. AZLTA is actively raising funds to support our tourism advocates at the legislature. 
By contributing to the AZLTA PAC, you are helping to elect legislators who support our industry. Every day, lawmakers make decisions on raising or lowering your taxes, enacting or repealing burdensome employer mandates, and promulgating unreasonable regulations. The AZLTA PAC is committed to electing lawmakers who will best represent our objectives – lowering taxes, repealing burdensome employer mandates, and eliminating unreasonable regulations.
AHLA has announced COVID-19 Precautions for Hotels, a hotel-specific online training course designed specifically for cleaning and safety during the pandemic. This valuable training tool was developed in partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI).
#ThankfulThursday with SILVER Strategic Sponsor Arizona Office of Tourism! Thank you for your tireless work telling the story of Arizona’s incredible places to visit and for being a valued partner of #AzLTA – BIG congrats on your first-ever virtual #AZGCOT event! #Unity
Are you AZSAFE + CLEAN Certified? AzLTA is pleased to offer the AZSAFE+Clean certification that aims to provide hotels and resorts a one-stop-shop for industry standards and guidelines for a safe work environment, and confirm to both their team members and guests that they are taking the necessary steps to remain safe and clean. 
AzLTA is committed to providing our members with up-to-date resources, webinars, information and recommendations from our state and national partners. Daily updates will be shared on our website so please reference it often and share it with your network.
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