Hotel slowdowns alone could cost states in the Mountain West more than $1.7 billion in tax revenue this year, according to an analysis commissioned by the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
Nevada accounts for $1.1 billion of that amount, much of it tied to gaming taxes. But economies around the region rely heavily on tourism.
In Idaho, tourism's the third largest industry, bringing in more than $475 million in federal, state and local taxes, which state tourism officials say reduces the tax burden on every Idaho household by $740 a year.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association analysis projects Idaho losing more than $57 million in hotel-related revenue this year.
Matt Borud is the marketing and innovation administrator at the Idaho Department of Commerce and says the pandemic has been hard, but he’s hopeful.
“We’ve been able to start seeing the leisure travel resume and out-of-state travelers being able to enter Idaho without needing to self-quarantine," he said. "We’re optimistic that public health allowing, that we can still have a good summer.”
He says from what he’s heard, this tourism disruption has eclipsed both 9/11 and the 2008 recession.
However, he says spring is often a lull for tourism in parts of the Mountain West, so the timing of the virus could be worse. Summer, on the other hand, is a big deal for tourism, and unfortunately COVID-19 positive cases are back on the rise.
Colorado stands to lose $253 million in hotel revenue, according to the analysis, while New Mexico and Utah are expected to lose $119 million and $116 million, respectively.
Find reporter Madelyn Beck on Twitter @MadelynBeck8
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.