May 15, 2010

THE MOST REVEALING ASPECT OF THE WHOLE CONTROVERSY...:

Governor out to rebrand Arizona over immigration law criticism (Ginger Rough and Dawn Gilbertson, May. 14, 2010, The Arizona Republic)

Acknowledging that Arizona has developed a serious image problem because of its tough new immigration law, Gov. Jan Brewer and tourism-industry leaders said Thursday that they will launch a new effort to stanch the flow of lost trade and convention business in the state.

The legislation and firestorm of negative publicity that followed brought calls for boycotts, moved groups to back out of local conventions and led several cities to cut business ties with Arizona companies. [...]

Officials were just starting to see signs of life when the backlash over the new immigration law began, said Debbie Johnson, CEO of the Arizona Tourism Alliance and the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association.

To date, dozens of cities and groups have announced boycotts. Arizona has lost at least 30 to 40 meetings and conventions, she said.

"We were surprised by (the boycotts)," Johnson said. "We didn't think it was going to be a tourism issue. This is a political issue."

The new task force has about 15 members representing business throughout the state's tourism industry.

They said stopping the boycotts is a top priority because they are worried about the approximately 200,000 hotel workers, restaurant employees and others who could lose their jobs if the industry can't find a way to lure new business here.

As part of their effort, officials plan to revive a past campaign that encourages Arizonans to take advantages of specials and deals and vacation within the state. How to rebrand the state to potential visitors has not yet been decided.

A big issue, Johnson said, is "tentative" bookings and new business, those groups that have indicated they were interested in coming here between 2011 and 2015 but are now refusing to sign contracts.

"We're hearing from our sales people in the hotels and resorts, that people aren't returning their calls anymore - that they don't even want to talk to Arizonans," she said.


...is that the Governor and other supporters of the law now argue that it will have literally no effect.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 15, 2010 8:03 AM
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