The backlash against North Carolina’s new law prohibiting local LGBT anti-discrimination ordinances and banning transgender people from using the bathroom that reflects their gender has been pronounced. And a significant part of the protest is rooted in meetings and travel, with New York state, San Francisco, and other municipal governments forbidding nonessential travel to the Tar Heel State, and high-profile events such as the 2017 NBA All-Star Game — slated for Charlotte — now in jeopardy. We asked destinations throughout North Carolina how they’re responding to the controversial new law.
Tom Murray, CEO, Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority: “We are extremely concerned about the state legislation in place, as we continue to hear negative feedback and potential event cancellations from our customers. Our city has worked incredibly hard to build a thriving visitor economy over the last 20 years, which has welcomed major events and conventions that greatly give back to the city and the state of North Carolina’s economy and overall quality of life. This issue is in danger of setting us back from the progress we’ve made in positioning Charlotte as an attractive, inclusive destination. Our city has long had a track record of creating an environment that not only values diversity, but strongly embraces it. On behalf of the visitor economy that represents one in nine jobs across the Charlotte region, we strongly urge that state and local leaders find a resolution that represents the best interests of our city and state.”
Amy Scott, director of marketing, Greensboro Area Convention & Visitors Bureau: “The Greensboro Convention & Visitors Bureau’s mission is to aid in the marketing of our community’s assets, maximizing economic impact while providing excellent visitor service. We recognize the wide range of opinions on the new legislation, but as an organization that performs under contract with the state government, the Greensboro CVB does not take positions on matters of public policy. As always, we’re staying focused on our efforts to aggressively promote Greensboro as a destination.”
Denny Edwards, president and CEO, Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau: “We have heard concerns regarding the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act (House Bill 2), from meeting and convention planners and sports-events right holders, but as of today we do not have any definitive cancellations. The staff of the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau is friendly, respectful, and open to diversity, and believes that it remains possible to host a meeting/sporting event in Raleigh at which all attendees will experience a welcoming environment. We will continue to work closely with our current and future clients to ensure safety, support, and success at their upcoming events.”