Arizona tourism officials launch campaign to promote lower hotel rates amidst coronavirus outbreak

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, Arizona's tourism industry is starting to take a hit, with hotel occupancy numbers starting to slip.

Now, the Arizona Office of Tourism is launching a campaign called "Unreal Spring Deals" to promote lower hotel rates during the month of March, in hopes of drawing visitors in.

While it is not known how much numbers have slipped at this point, and unlike other cities, no big groups have cancelled conferences or conventions, many of the state's hotels and tourism officials aren't waiting around for that to happen.

Some local hotels are slashing prices, up to 50% off the usual March rates. Meanwhile, the Arizona Office of Tourism is launching a promotion campaign to let the world know about it.

"Anytime there is fear, we see cancellations," said Debbie Johnson, Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. "We are trying to be proactive and make sure we are filling those rooms up."

March is the biggest month for tourism in the state. From spring training and spring break, to spots like Sedona and the Grand Canyon, March makes up the biggest chunk of the $25 billion a year travel industry.

Besides hotel workers, cooks, servers, taxi and rideshare drivers all suffer when things slow down.

"It's really about people stay employed and can support their families, so we are proud that our hotels have stepped up," said Debbie Johnson.

More than 45 million people visit Arizona each year, and of the 100,000 hotels across the state, about half are in Maricopa County. People can expect to see lower room rates, as well as the promotional campaign, through the month of March, and maybe even longer.

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