Local News

After The Closure: Can Tusayan Bounce Back

October 23, 2013

By Mike Scerbo

Businesses in northern Arizona that depend on tourism from the Grand Canyon are thanking Arizona's congressional delegation and Governor Brewer for ensuring the Grand Canyon remained open during part of the federal government shutdown. They're also working to bring back the tourists.

Local businesses had contributed at least $196,000 in addition to more than $200,000 from the adjacent Town of Tusayan to help operate the Canyon during the shutdown. The private businesses will be getting refunds thanks to the Town's efforts.

Businesses in northern Arizona lost millions of dollars because of the shutdown and there are fears that there will be lingering effects as tourists may be less likely to travel to the area because of the threat of a shutdown in the future.

Tusayan’s Town Council is concerned about any lingering effects that shutdown may have caused. Councilmember Craig Sanderson said, “I do know of some tour companies that have cancelled the rest of the season.” Sanderson added, “I think the shutdown does have a long term lasting impact.”

Vice Mayor Al Montoya noted that the shutdown hit at the worst possible time, in the middle of the fall when visitation is high, “This is when they’re making their last bit of money before the winter season kicks in. It’s very detrimental to the community.”

Red Feather Properties Manger Clarinda Vail, who led the effort to use non-federal funds during the Canyon closure, stated, "We want to thank our Governor, state leaders, and the members of our congressional delegation who helped in re-opening the Grand Canyon. The business community owes a special thanks to the leadership displayed by the Town of Tusayan in this crisis. Now that the worst is over, the business owners in the area will have to work harder to bring the tourists back. It won't be easy but it can and must be done."

Councilman Bill Fitzgerald suggested that those who led the fund-raising effort and protest at the Canyon should receive some sort of formal thank you from the Town.