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Ducey uses federal pandemic cash to promote Arizona tourism

July 14, 2021 GMT
FILE - In this April 21, 2021, file photo, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey addresses the media at the U.S-Mexico border in Yuma, Ariz. Ducey on Thursday, May 13, 2021, joined a growing number of Republican governors who are stopping payment of an extra $300 per week in pay for unemployed workers paid for by a federal virus relief package to force people to return to work. (Randy Hoeft/The Yuma Sun via AP, File)
FILE - In this April 21, 2021, file photo, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey addresses the media at the U.S-Mexico border in Yuma, Ariz. Ducey on Thursday, May 13, 2021, joined a growing number of Republican governors who are stopping payment of an extra $300 per week in pay for unemployed workers paid for by a federal virus relief package to force people to return to work. (Randy Hoeft/The Yuma Sun via AP, File)

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday announced he’s using $101.1 million of federal relief funding to launch a new program to encourage more tourism spending in the state and help the hospitality industry recover from the pandemic.

The Visit Arizona Initiative will use the American Rescue Plan money to help the tourism sector of the state’s economy to prosper and “continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic,” Doug said in a statement.

“When visitors from across the globe travel to our great state, they stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants, buy our products and enjoy our recreational activities,” he said.

Examples of planned funding uses include destination and travel marketing, local programs and events, state park improvements, Arizona State Fair marketing and a workplace initiative for the hospitality industry, Ducey’s statement said.

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Ducey’s move to bolster the tourism industry followed his announcement Monday that he was tapping federal cash from the Biden administration’s American Rescue Plan to refill the state unemployment insurance trust fund.

Ducey’s deposit of $759 million from the $4.8 billion Arizona received through the American Rescue Plan was the first time the governor has used any of the money appropriated by Congress in March.