Risk Management

The Latest on the Arizona Boycott

DMAI, ASAE, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have come out against the economic boycott of Arizona -- with an emphasis on meetings and tourism -- proposed in response to the state's new immigration law.

From DMAI:

“More than anything, travel boycotts hurt the local communities and the workers who rely on jobs in the travel and tourism sectors,” said Michael Gehrisch, president and CEO of DMAI. “In the case of Arizona, the Arizona Office of Tourism estimates that a boycott would affect 200,000 industry workers — and their families.”

According to ASAE:
 
A meetings and tourism boycott doesn’t hurt the state legislators who drafted the bill; it punishes an entire industry that played no role in the measure’s conception.
 
And the U.S. Chamber makes it three:

“It is very bad policy to boycott the businesses and harm the workers of Arizona based on actions of the state legislature,” said R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president of Government Affairs for the U.S. Chamber. “The travel and tourism industry is essential to growth and job creation throughout this country. The last thing we need to do is punish those who are working hard to create the jobs that our nation’s economy desperately needs.”

None of these responses is what you’d call a surprise, coming as they do from organizations that are part of the meetings industry and/or the business community. But I don’t think Rep. Grijalva and his followers would disagree with them, because ultimately, that’s the point of a boycott: apply enough pressure and inflict enough damage until the other side caves in. At least one rank-and-file segment of the travel and tourism industry has aligned itself with the boycott: Service Employees International Union, which has announced that “the 2.2-million-member union will boycott conventions and meetings in Arizona in an effort to denounce the extremist, anti-immigration law ‘SB1070.'”

Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso is executive editor of Convene.