Good, bad and ugly: Covid-19’s impact on the Valley’s tourism sector detailed in study

Posted at 9:16 AM, Apr 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-13 12:16:27-04

While it has been very clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the Valley's hospitality and tourism industry, a new white paper published by the Maricopa Association of Governments shows just how bad things actually got.

The paper, which was published this month, also looks at how tourism from Mexico and Canada, which usually is a major economic driver, was hindered and hurt the overall economy.

“In Arizona, the abrupt cancellation of the Major League Baseball spring training season and other sporting events, business meetings and conventions, along with the closing of restaurants, bars and casinos, resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in lost sales,” the report said.

Looking at what governments lost out on, MAG’s report said that local travel-related taxes totaled $32.6 billion in 2020, dropping 26% from 2019.

Entertainment, lodging and food and beverage, three sectors that rely heavily on travelers saw 2020’s gross sales respectively drop 51%, 32% and 16% compared to 2019.

When looking specifically at tourism from Canada and Mexico, Arizona and its local governments missed out on millions of dollars because of the pandemic.

Overnight travel to Arizona from Mexico in 2020 decreased 61% compared with 2019, with spending dropping from $1.37 billion to $613 million, according to MAG’s white paper.

Read more of this subscription-only story from the Business Journal.