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Delta variant impacting Tucson tourism over holiday weekend

Even though visitors are eager to travel, Visit Tucson said it’s hit or miss due to pandemic concerns.
Delta variant impacting Tucson tourism over holiday weekend.
Delta variant impacting Tucson tourism over holiday weekend.
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 6:17 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Restaurants and resorts are hoping for a busy Labor Day weekend, after a year filled with little to no travel. Even though visitors are eager to travel, Visit Tucson said it’s a hit or miss this weekend because of delta variant concerns.

“People who are individuals making travel decisions still want to travel, but the challenge for Visit Tucson and Tucson’s travel market going forward is group travel,” said Dan Gibson, Senior Director of Communications for Visit Tucson. “Conventions, business groups, things like that.”

Throughout the summer, Gibson said they would try to attract Arizonans from across the state to travel to Tucson. Because school is back in session before Labor Day, Gibson said Arizonans are typically staying home over the holiday weekend rather than taking those trips.

“Once the kids go back to school, it’s go-time, parents are locked in and ready to get back to that routine,” Gibson said.

On the other hand, resorts are seeing an uptick in visitors traveling from across the country. Cooler temperatures have attracted a lot of guests and have helped make up for lost business. Gibson said even some locals are choosing staycations at resorts instead of traveling.

“We are seeing hotels closer to full capacity, a lot of them are at full capacity, you’ll see busy times in a lot of those hotels, we just aren’t fully there yet,” Gibson said.

Gibson said it all boils down to getting more folks vaccinated and working to stop the spread of COVID-19. He said both are crucial in order to get businesses back to normal, since tourism has a $2.2 billion impact in Arizona.

“We’re looking at the fall and our peak season starts in January, and people are making decisions about travel right now and having a healthy Tucson goes a long way in sort of preserving a lot of jobs and economic impact for our community,” Gibson said.

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