Boycott Affecting Arizona Tourism

During the past few weeks, the media has covered how the growing boycott of Arizona over its adoption of immigration legislation has affected tourism to and from the state. Here are some excerpts from various media sources and industry publications.

At the time of this blog’s creation, some 16 cities have passed resolutions to restrict business  with Arizona based businesses and city related travel to the state for city. For example, the Los Angeles city council voted 13-1 on May 12 to bar the city from conducting any business with Arizona unless the law is repealed. Mayor Antonio Villariagosa has ap­proved the measure. The move will likely affect about $8 million in contracts, the Wash­ington Post reported.

The Seattle City Council passed a resolution to protest Arizona’s new illegal-immigration law through a city boycott of goods and services from Arizona and, like many resolutions passed by other cities, stated that departments are to ‘avoid sending City officials or employees to conferences or events in Arizona.’

The Greater Phoenix CVB has released a statement about the issue, charging that “the Arizona convention and visitor industry is being used as leverage in a political issue with no direct connection to our industry.”

“Anything intended to hurt the state’s industry will directly impact 200,000 Arizonans and their families who rely on tourism for their livelihood,” according to the statement. “The industry is an integral part of our State’s economy, and in today’s economic environment, it is more important than ever that we do everything we can to attract—not discourage—visitors to Arizona,” it continues.

“Organizations choosing convention sites and visitors have choices, and we may never know the full impact that all the publicity surrounding the passage of Senate Bill 1070 will have on those choices.”

The boycott is also causing a boomerang affect. After the San Diego city council made a decision to boycott Arizona in opposition to the state’s new immigration law, some would-be Arizona tourists have nixed their trips to the West Coast city. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the San Diego CVB has received notice from a number of Arizonans canceling their reservations. Roughly 2 million Arizona residents visit San Diego each year.

Meanwhile,  the largest U.S. travel related association has weighed in against the boycotts. “We call for an end to counterproductive Arizona travel boycotts,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement released earlier this month. “Immigration reform is an important and sensitive topic for Arizona and the country at large. This complex issue should be resolved on the merits of various proposals, not by holding an industry and its 300,000 employees hostage to politics.”

A boycott of travel to and within Arizona could result in job losses for thousands of American citizens, Dow warned. “We appreciate the acknowledgment that travel is a major economic force in Arizona and across the country,” he continued. “We need to protect this critical aspect of our economy and reward hard-working Americans instead of proposing boycotts that will lead to job losses and economic hardship for families and local communities. It is inappropriate to punish the men and women of our industry who have done no harm to others.”

Sources: USAE, Seattle Times, San Diego Union Tribune, U.S. Travel Association

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One thought on “Boycott Affecting Arizona Tourism

  1. Boycott to Arizona affects more than just the businesses in the state but also the Sovereign Nations within it. The threat of these Nations being affected by state laws they are not responsible for issuing is something to consider when answering the “boycott or not” question. Grand Canyon West (home of the Skywalk), owned by the Hualapai Tribe in Northwest Arizona, is a nation that could be strongly affected if the boycott grows. Tourism dollars from their Lodge on Historic Route 66, Grand Canyon whitewater rafting and Grand Canyon West, home of the Skywalk are the sole income for the tribe and provides hundreds of job opportunities to the people which have gone though years of unemployment rates that were over 75% at times. This revenue has been instrumental in programs for their youth such as a Head Start program and a 4H with many more planned for the future. As of yet, visitation to the Hualapai Reservation is continuing but concerns of the states decisions that damage the visitation to Arizona, which the reservation is surrounded by, are growing. A boycott will leave many innocent bystanders, like the Hualapai Tribe, wounded from “friendly fire.” Let’s find another solution!

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