You guys lost money because of SB1070? How unfortunate. Maybe you should have opposed it more forcefully.

22 Nov 2010 09:48 pm
Posted by: Donna

Looking right at you, Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association and Arizona Tourism Alliance. How sad that you are struggling! Perhaps if you’d taken a real stance against SB1070, instead of issuing an anodyne weak-tea mush-mouthed statement such at this:

S1070 Talking Points:

 The Tourism Industry is deeply concerned about the repercussions that will result from the debate surrounding SBill1070.

 It’s unclear, at this time, the level of effect this legislation will have on our tourism industry. Our hotels and destinations are working closely with their customers to answer questions and alleviate fears.

 Arizona tourism is currently in a very fragile state of recovery and the negative perceptions surrounding this legislation are tarnishing Arizona’s image and could easily have a devastating effect on that progress.

 The Tourism Industry was not involved in any process of developing this legislation, but is certain to experience the unintended consequences of the economic backlash.

 Dozens of elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans agree on one thing – boycotting Arizona tourism to make a political statement is a bad idea and only hurts the thousands of innocent tourism employees.

 As we’ve seen many times in recent years, tourism is being used as leverage for a political issue with no direct connection to our industry.

Oh hey, honeybuns, when you say SB1070 has “no direct connection to our industry”, are you seriously forgetting all the undocumented workers your industry hires? Really? Are you that willing to throw those workers to the wolves? To let them get arrested, deported, and ripped from the arms of their families? What do y’all get out of it? Would you lose any more business had you’d taken a definitive stance against SB1070? It appears that the Arizona hotel industry is worried about the debate over SB1070, not SB1070 itself, which means they don’t care about the people who work for them.

Stuff like this is why I’ll never jump aboard the “the employers are our friends!” bandwagon.

7 Comments

  1. Comment by AZ Mama on November 22, 2010 10:46 pm

    I’m always sort of stunned that they’ll blame the boycott over SB1070 for the drop in tourism when 1. the damn economy sucks and 2. the holy mother of all clenchers of tourists’ sphincters: THE GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF ARIZONA WENT ON NATIONAL TELEVISION AND FALSELY ASSERTED FOLKS WERE BEING BEHEADED IN OUR BACK FORTY!

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  3. Comment by Diane D'Angelo on November 23, 2010 6:07 am

    Noteworthy: The LA Times lede for the amount of $$ lost due to 1070 implied it wasn’t that bad…..

  4. Comment by Kristen Jarnagin on November 23, 2010 9:57 am

    Well, first of all, Congressman Grijalva can tell you that no matter how hard your stance against the legislation – it didn’t influence the politicians or the outcome. Therefore, to blame the tourism industry and the thousands of employees that lost their jobs and income as a result of boycotts is unfair and unwise in this fragile economy.

    Secondly, suggesting (or insisting) that our industry hires undocumented workers is not only uneducated – it’s offensive. While more than 30% of our employees are minorities/Hispanics – in Arizona we put all of our hotel employees through the E-Verify system as (thanks to stereotypes like those furthered in this blog) our industry is under a spotlight of scrutiny in this area.

    Lastly, to answer AZ Mama’s concern, we KNOW that the boycotts are what damaged tourism (particularly meetings/conventions) because the meeting planners who were canceling TOLD us exactly why they were no longer coming…and in most cases they paid cancellation fees and paid more to go elsewhere. Yes, the economy is damaging our industry and that has negative effect, but we can also specifically target the business lost as a result of boycotts.

    All of that said, our industry is made up of a diverse population of democrats, republicans and about every ethnic group you can think of, so I don’t understand why we’re targeted and why – when we try to speak out for those losing their jobs and incomes, we’re attacked! We were working with both sides of the isle to try to protect our employees and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was our industry’s strongest ally in these efforts.

    Why wouldn’t we all stand up and say – “don’t punish the thousands of hourly workers who are simply trying to feed their families”?

  5. Comment by Samrat on November 23, 2010 4:44 pm

    Eh. Obviously they don’t care about the workers they exploit, but we already knew that.

    I’m still glad they’re complaining now, though. Yes, I wish they’d campaigned harder against SB1070 initially, but big industry yelling about it is going to get a lot more attention than individual liberal activists and I’ll welcome my allies wherever I can get them.

    And AZ Mama, yes, I’m organizing a conference at a large Tucson hotel and the event manager told me personally that her hotel has received a handful of conference cancellations worth tens of thousands of dollars who specifically cited not wanting to break an SB1070 boycott.

    It is not just the economy and it is not just Brewer’s asshat beheading comments. Unfortunately, a lot of well-meaning liberal organizations jumped on the boycott bandwagon as an effective political action they could be a part of and actively discouraged their members from visiting Arizona and that has also hurt tourism.

  6. Comment by AZ Mama on November 23, 2010 10:42 pm

    Fair enough. I’m not involved nor have the occassion to encounter anyone in the hotel industry, so I humbly concede the point and acknowledge that I am in fact unfamiliar with that side to this unfortunate situation.

    To clarify my statement, I was speaking–more or less–to touristy-tourism rather than conference tourism. In fact, there was at least one news report which featured one bed and breakfast that received a number of cancellations, wherein guests cited the reports/concerns over beheadings, not the boycott.

    So while I acknowledge the fiscal impact was more substantial with the cancellations of conference bookings, there is still a fiscal impact from the loss of those individual/family tourists who cancelled plans or bypassed our state out of fear.

  7. Comment by Samrat on November 26, 2010 9:36 pm

    AZ Mama, I would tend to agree that while business cancellations may be more boycott-motivated, tourist cancellations are likely more due to scary news from the press.

    Kristen’s assertion that no illegals are hired because of the E-verify system is laughable. Stolen social security numbers are used: I remember at least one case in which a dozen employees of a Tucson fast food restaurant were hired under false socials and busted this past year. And many employees are hired under-the-table. Just because your hotel isn’t complicit (that you know of) doesn’t mean the industry is blameless.

    There is no one answer to the illegal immigration problem. It is something that has to be addressed from every angle. Improving Mexico’s economy by reexamining trade and drug policies (to remove the incentive for immigration) and enforcing employer sanctions by critically examining the hospitality industry’s hiring practices should both be addressed.

    Kristen, why shouldn’t the hotel industry be subjected to scrutiny? If you have nothing to hide… There’s bipartisan consensus that E-verify can be gamed: http://homelandsecuritynewswire.com/concerns-over-e-verify-effectiveness-illegal-immigration-detentions-drop An independent analysis of the system found that half of all unauthorized employees were classified as work-authorized: http://www.uscis.gov/USCIS/Native%20Docs/Westat%20Evaluation%20of%20the%20E-Verify%20Program.pdf So, there’s that.

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