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Arizona Leisure And Hospitality Industry Faces Bleak Start To 2021

Right now is normally peak-season for Arizona’s leisure and hospitality industry. The pandemic is going to steal profits again this year. But a top tourism official says it’s too early to know how much.

Perfect weather, the Phoenix Open golf tournament and spring training baseball are some of the yearly attractions that bring big crowds and lots of money to Arizona.

COVID-19 has already robbed the state’s hospitality industry of at least $10 billion, said Kim Sabow, president of the Arizona Tourism and Lodging Association.

“This industry was hit first. It was hit worse. And we will indeed be one of the last to recover,” she said.

The Cactus League has asked Major League Baseball to delay the start of spring training.

Sabow said doing so would come with a price tag, but health and safety are top priority.

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Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.