Arizona’s new immigration law is continuing to ripple through the meetings and hospitality industry, with U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva’s call for an economic boycott of his state further muddying the waters. Last week, The Arizona Republic reported that “six groups have canceled meeting or convention plans in the state” because of the law. The U.S. Travel Association has called for an end to “counterproductive Arizona travel boycotts,” while the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association (AzHLA) is urging residents to avoid “driving our state’s economy even further into decline and punishing the 200,000 families who rely on tourism for their livelihoods.”
Unfortunately, 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 will directly impact 200,000 Arizonans and their families who rely on tourism for their livelihood.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. 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. We urge any individuals or groups that are considering boycotts not to do so.