PHOENIX - According to figures from the Office of Tourism, Arizona hosted 45 million visitors in 2019. Now, no one is visiting the Grand Canyon State during the high season.
Popular tourism destinations that are normally packed, like Old Town Scottsdale and luxury hotels in Paradise Valley, look rather empty.
"For this to happen right now to us, it is devastating," said Becky Blaine, Deputy Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. Blaine says the state's tourism industry employs 192,000 people, and now, 40% of those workers have been laid off or furloughed.
"It impacts all counties here in the state," said Blaine. "It is not just confined to Maricopa County or convention center, it is everywhere across the state."
To help these workers, the Office of Tourism is working closely with the Commerce Authority's Office of Economic Opportunity, in an effort to connect workers with industries that are hiring.
"We are trying to work with the sectors that are hiring. I want to make an appeal to those employers: reach out to us," said Blaine.
The Office of Tourism is also making plans to market what Arizona has to offer more than before, when it is safe to do so again.
"We know there is going to be a lot of pent-up demand when people can travel again, and we will be ready for it," said Blaine.
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