Jaime Molera Participates in Tourism Legislative Industry Kickoff Forum

Molera Alvarez Managing Partner Jaime Molera joined President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, Glenn Hamer, and President of Rounds Consulting, Jim Rounds, for the 2021 Travel and Tourism Legislative Industry Kickoff Forum moderated by Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association President and CEO Kim Sabow. During the panel, the field experts discussed how Arizona’s 2021 Legislative session could play a crucial role in the recovery of the Arizona tourism industry after the destructive aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read highlights from their insightful discussion below or view a recording of the full kickoff forum for detailed remarks, including commentary from several key state legislators.

What are the tourism industry’s priorities in Arizona’s upcoming 2021 Legislative Session?
Glenn Hamer: The tourism sector in Arizona is a massive contributor to the state’s economy, so as goes tourism, so goes the state’s economy. Arizona’s tourism industry alone accounts for about $25 billion of state revenue. However, due to lockdowns and travel restrictions, this industry has taken one of the largest hits during the COVID-19 pandemic. On a national stage, we need to smartly, sensibly and safely reopen U.S. borders to tourism from Canada and Mexico. Additionally, the COVID-19 vaccine will be an essential part of regaining consumers’ trust in travel and restore tourism revenues; so, in addition to the COVID-19 mitigation measures such as masking, we need to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

Jim Rounds: About half of the 300,000 COVID-related job losses in Arizona were in hospitality. It could cost the state $1 billion in state and local tax collections if all we do is catch up at the current pace. We need to re-capture some of the lost tourism business, and we estimate that every 10% of dollars recaptured amounts to $100 million in state tax collections, creating a massive return on investment (ROI). The state needs to take into account ROI from the tourism industry rather than just thinking of investing in the industry as a budget expense. Therefore, rebuilding this industry is a main priority in the upcoming session.

Jaime Molera: Investing in tourism promotion is an investment in Arizonans. SB 1335, a bill set in place by Arizona Senators Tyler Pace and Sean Bowie will allow for Arizona communities to better market themselves through Tourism Marketing Authorities (TMA). A similar House of Representatives bill (HB 2161), sponsored by Representative Steve Kaiser, also calls for the establishment of TMAs to enhance tourism in Arizona. Reminding tourists why Arizona is a great travel destination will be crucial in restoring the tourism sector. In addition to targeted investments, we also need to mitigate areas that hinder progress, which is why taking up liability reform is so important. We cannot have frivolous lawsuits that will take away from businesses’ ability to function at full capacity.  The economic impact of the tourism industry in Arizona is undeniable and must be a top priority with legislators this session.

Published On: January 28th, 2021Categories: Client News

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