AzLTA to expand scholarships for industry employees

The inaugural Experience Arizona Open golf tournament tees off on Monday, November 12, a day after the Charles Schwab Cup Championship ends at the Phoenix Country Club. For many it will be a day of great golf in perfect weather, and an opportunity to work on their putts or drives. For others, it will be the open door they need to continue their career trajectory in the state’s hospitality and tourism industries.

The Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association, which is behind the day-long round of golf and the after party scheduled, will be hosting regional golfers looking to swing away for a better cause.Top sponsors of the event are helping fund AzLTA scholarships for Arizona hospitality, travel and tourism professionals looking to position themselves for a better job outlook in their respective industries.

Currently, there are more than 300,000 people working in the hospitality industry in the state. In fact, the travel and tourism industry brings in $21 billion in direct vendor spending, serving 43 million overnight visitors every year. It’s the only industry in the state with a positive economic impact in all 15 counties and is only getting better.

Think of the annual sports events that bring people in from all over to stay a night or two, like Spring Training, the Fiesta Bowl or NASCAR. Or what about selected big-ticket events such as the Super Bowl, college football championship or Final Four tournament? Or destinations like Sedona that are fueled by visitors coming in to experience the surrounding climate and terrain. With this in mind, AzLTA took up the opportunity to channel funds from the golf tournament to help develop a solid career future for those in an industry that’s soaring due to a healthy demand.

“Easy access and application is essential to the success of these scholarships which provide today’s students and working hospitality professionals with a variety of supportive solutions for both college and university studies,” notes Kim Sabow, president of AzLTA. “Through these combined resources, we provide the opportunity to access over $40,000 annually in support of education, internships and training. In addition, further funding from national partners and programs provides access to $100,000 in scholarship grants.”

Historically speaking, in Arizona, hotel performance is a strong indicator of a healthy visitor market. In 2015, $3 billion was generated in local, state and federal taxes and the number is only growing.

Scholarships will be awarded based on application merits and are intended for continued education and training for those looking to take bigger roles in hospitality, lodging or tourism. The result, AzLTA hopes, it to advance the talent pipeline in the state to a more rewarding and promising career for Arizonans looking to step forward in this burgeoning area.

Academia partners currently collaborating with students enrolled in their programs include Northern Arizona University (NAU), University of Arizona (UA), Arizona State University (ASU), Grand Canyon University (GCU) and Scottsdale Community College, a Maricopa Community College.

For more information about the inaugural Experience Arizona Open and After Party, click here.

Nick Esquer

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