TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Another Tucson staple is canceled by COVID-19.
One of the Gem and Mineral Showcase’s largest shows--The Tucson Gem and Mineral show inside the Tucson Convention Center--announced they are canceling their 2021 show.
It’s the first glimpse into how different the event will be under these circumstances.
“It’s devastating,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “It’s devastating for the City of Tucson as much as it is for the hotels in the area, the small businesses and restaurants in the area that every year saw an influx of investment because of the gem show.”
Last year, the entire gem and mineral showcase generated $131 million in direct spending, including $13 million in local tax revenue. That’s according to a economic impact study funded by Visit Tucson.
A part of that revenue came from the biggest venue at TCC. Now that’s gone, and so are 20 additional shows due to COVID.
“It’s going to change the scale of the show there’s no way around it,” said Dan Gibson with Visit Tucson. “Will people stay as long? Will they come for a week instead of two weeks? Will they come for a few days instead of a week? Will they spend as much time in restaurants or maybe will it shift to more AirBnB’s than resorts?”
He’s also thinking long term, and keeping people coming back.
“A lot of these gem sellers, these vendors have moved here, have set up permanent or semi-permanent operations here so it’s really just trying to keep much of it afloat and active and give people an experience," said Gibson.
The Pima County Health Department released draft guidance for show owners which limits the amount of people allowed in open air booths and hotel rooms. So while the shows can still go on, it’s definitely a year to limit expectations.
″We want to be optimistic but I think people should certainly expect fewer people to be here because it’s just not possible to do it the same way we did it last year," said Gibson.