SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Greg Williams is on vacation with his family at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort. They just drove in from San Diego to relax in the sun and play by the pool.

Yes, they have concerns about COVID-19, but say they feel comfortable the hotel has taken the proper steps to keep them safe. "We understand that there are going to be risks everywhere," said Williams. "We go to jobs every day and still take some risks, but just have to play it safe and make sure we are doing what is asked of us."

Despite all the safety measures Arizona resorts and hotels have taken, it's not enough to revive an industry that's been devastated by the current health pandemic.

During the first six months of 2020, Arizona lost $9 billion in visitor spending with more than 150,000 direct and indirect hospitality jobs lost. And it could get worse.

Kim Sabow is President of the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association. She said that all conventions and large events have come to a stop, taking away more than half of hotels' annual revenue.

"We eked through the summer, but we are really suffering," said Sabow. "This is an industry that has lost 50% of its workforce and a vast majority of businesses. Without some sort of tangible and swift relief, it will face additional massive layoffs and foreclosures and permanent closure."

There have been some encouraging signs, with a growing number of visitors from California and Colorado opting to drive to Arizona for a brief vacation. But tourism experts said that unless lawmakers in Washington approve relief funding for the hospitality industry, hundreds of Arizona hotels will be forced to close down. "I always say when travel stops, the economy stops," said Sabow. "It's critical we get some relief to our core industry."

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
 
 

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