Arizona’s small businesses and hospitality sector have been especially hard hit by the pandemic, with thousands of jobs lost since March. To provide a boost to these critical sectors and the Arizonans they employ, Governor Doug Ducey recently announced $7 million to support economic recovery efforts.
Over the course of the pandemic, the Arizona Department of Health Services has worked closely with the hospitality and tourism industry to provide public health guidance intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 and enable operations to continue safely. The Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) has worked closely with state and national partners to provide up-to-date health and safety information to travelers and the tourism industry.
“In Arizona, we’ve shown that mitigation measures work and can help our business operate safely — with public health the top priority,” says Governor Ducey. “Thousands of Arizonans employed by the hospitality industry have been impacted and displaced by this pandemic, and we continue to fight for them. Likewise, we know many small businesses are facing incredible challenges. As we make sure Arizonans have access to the social safety net, we also want to give them the opportunity to work. This funding will protect livelihoods, highlight the robust mitigation measures Arizona has put in place, and keep our economy moving forward.”
The funding includes:
• $3 million for the AOT to put toward a strategic recovery plan, promoting safe meeting and business travel, and working with hotels, restaurants, attractions and destination marketing organizations to help connect visitors to our rural, urban, and tribal communities;
• $1 million for the AOT to strengthen domestic marketing campaigns, targeting residents of nearby states including, but not limited to: Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, California, and New Mexico, who can drive to Arizona to safely visit;
• $1 million for the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) to connect with businesses that can benefit from safely expanding or relocating in Arizona;
• $1 million for the ACA to provide capital funding for Arizona small businesses and entrepreneurs, further encouraging economic development amid the pandemic; and
• $1 million for local chambers of commerce to implement programs that accelerate local economic recovery related to COVID-19.
This funding comes from federal CARES Act dollars and is being allocated by the state. The funding for local chambers of commerce comes from the Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund, established in March through a bipartisan state budget agreement that added $50 million for Arizona’s COVID-19 response.
View the steps AOT has taken to address COVID-19’s impact to tourism in Arizona here: tourism.az.gov/covid-19-updates. View ACA’s resources for businesses affected by COVID-19 here: azcommerce.com/covid-19.