In the first week since the controversial immigration legislation Senate Bill 1070 was signed into law in Arizona and opponents called for a travel boycott to the state, at least 19 meetings – representing more than 15,000 room nights – have decided to pull out of the destination, resulting in an estimated US$6 million in economic impact thus far, according to a statement from the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association (AZHLA).
“The Tourism Industry was not part of the development of this legislation, but … [it] is being used as leverage for a political issue with no direct connection to our industry,” read part of the official statement on the issue from AZHLA.
Roger Dow, president and CEO of the US Travel Association, has called for an end to all Arizona travel boycotts and urged Washington policymakers to do what their constituents have repeatedly asked them to do and address the complex issue of immigration.
“We call for an end to counterproductive Arizona travel boycotts,” Dow said. “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.
“We appreciate the acknowledgment that travel is a major economic force in Arizona and across the country. 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,” he said.
“It is inappropriate to punish the men and women of our industry who have done no harm to others. The situation in Arizona further highlights the need for federal action on immigration reform. The longer Congress delays action on this issue, the greater the likelihood for divisive and detrimental policies,” he concluded.
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