PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – Senator Martha McSally pitched a new stimulus plan to boost the travel and tourism industry that got hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a typical year, Arizona tourism can bring in around $3 billion. This year, the number of tourists is down drastically, leading to massive unemployment numbers in the tourism industry.
The bill would include a $4,000 tax credit for individuals and $8,000 for couples, plus an additional $500 per child. If signed into law, it would be good for the next two years.
"Tourism in general as a nation has been hit really hard by the effects of the pandemic,” Megan Trummel with ‘Visit Phoenix’ said. “So, we're really supportive of efforts to support this industry,"
Here's how Senator McSally's plan would work:
- You must travel at least 50 miles from home.
- Money could be used on lodging, travel, and entertainment.
Dan Gibson with ‘Visit Tucson’ says one of the advantages of vacationing in Arizona is the wide-open spaces.
"The minute you get to most places in Arizona, you feel outright, you have the opportunity to sort of have all the benefits of whatever you're looking for in travel but also have an opportunity to be away from people," he said.
However, if you don’t feel comfortable with traveling because of COVID-19, both say they understand.
"You don't have to do the things where you might be in closer proximity to people, but there's plenty of activities that you can do in the meantime to make you feel comfortable to get you outside of that house to see the beautiful landscape that greater Phoenix has to offer," Trummel said.
"It's incredibly legitimate concern, I mean I think I would never pass the sort of judgment of what people are making the choices for themselves," Gibson said.
Some believe that with so many people out of work right now, McSally's priorities are misplaced. They say focus should be on direct aid for communities and the long-term unemployed.
"As Arizonans continue to die, get sick and struggle to get tested, they need access to health care — not a vacation," said Niles Harries, the executive director if Honest Arizona. "McSally should start taking her job seriously and working on real solutions. Now is the time for life-saving testing and health care, not taxpayer-funded vacations.”
To read the entire bill, click here.