Arizona Immigration Law Affects Tourism

Arizona's tourism officials already claim steep revenue losses as they brace for new immigration law to go into effect.

Disney gates empty?

“We Never Forget that you have a Choice”, a slogan that underscores that in the end people do have a choice as long as they are willing to face the consequences.
The slogan was introduced by British Caledonian Airways and comes from the nostalgic days of the late 70s and early 80s when traveling coach on a “bus” plane like discount airline  People Express was more fun than traveling first class these days.

Arizona Tourism officials are now experiencing first hand how the message implies the potential of a boycott and Florida should listen carefully to what Arizona tourism professionals have to say about the new immigration law that goes into effect next month.  Their message for colleagues across the country: Keep close tabs on any proposed legislation that may effect your industry. Set backs come from many angles. What may be presented as politically correct, can effect your life in a harsh way”.

The industry, “blindsided” by Arizona’s tough new immigration law, already stands to lose $90 million or more in meetings and conventions business alone because of it, said Debbie Johnson, CEO of the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association and the Arizona Tourism Alliance.
“40 canceled groups is just a start that translates into $90 million. More importantly, our phones are not ringing,” she told an audience at the California Travel Industry Association annual conference. “It breaks my heart that a political issue has become all about tourism.” Adding to the woes is that the Arizona Office of Tourism budget was cut by 70% this spring and one third of its staff was let go. “There’s no money” for any advertising, said Johnson, who leads an industry task force that will report to Gov. Jan Brewer June 14 on ways to shore up visitor confidence.

Here are some number comparisons with Florida to consider. Travel and tourism is one of the most important “export-oriented” industries in Arizona.  In 2008 (latest available numbers) spending by visitors generated sales in lodging, food services, recreation, transportation and retail businesses – the travel industry – and secondary impacts (professional services, government, finance, real estate and construction) of a little over $10 billion, employing 310,000 people.

Florida, the world’s largest tourism destination with 76 million visitors in 2004 and $57.6 billion in revenues (latest official numbers?), would stand to loose a lot if it would copycat Arizona’s new immigration law. All things equal to Arizona tourism would point at more than half a BILLION dollars right out of the gates. Of course more enforcement jobs would become available but they don’t generate income. A initial net loss of jobs would be estimated at 15,000 but according to Arizona torusim officials that would only be the start.

The impact of the immigration law will be felt far into the future because of the lead time of convention bookings, said Steve Moore, president and CEO of the Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“When groups cancel or don’t book for this year or next, that means we’re out of their rotation and they may not come back for many years,” he said.
Moore pleaded with industry members to stay on top of potentially harmful legislation before it is enacted.
Johnson and Moore said they believe there isn’t much marketing the industry can do in the next month: The law goes into effect July 29, and they are bracing for intense media coverage, more possible boycotts and reaction from jittery meetings and convention planners.
We hope that most of the harm will be in convention and meetings, Johnson said. Because a majority of Americans appear to support the measure, she believes cancellations by leisure travelers disturbed by the law will be offset by those who are not bothered by it, but only time will tell if this reading is correct, she admitted.

Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, told the audience that he struggled unsuccessfully to convince city leaders not to vote to boycott Arizona (several other major U.S. cities have since followed suit).
As far as foreign tourism is concerned, it only takes a couple of wrongly profiled cases and the impact will be astronomical, just ask New York what the impact of over-the-top airport security and immigration has done to their international arrival numbers.

Time for Florida tourism officials to formulate a plan, I would think. Because here is a hint to consider:

During yesterday’s workshop at the Nassau County Economic Development Board it was mentioned that growing superpower Brazil projects ONE MILLION BRAZILIAN visitors to Disney World this year. That is $80 million or so in Admission fees alone. Brazilians are Hispanic and a couple of harassment profilings will put a stop to that number quickly.

9 Comments

  1. Emma Parker

    Easy to criticize AZ when you're a comfortable two thousand miles away from the problem. What would you recommend as an alternative solution ?

    Share your thoughts on http://immigration.civiltalks.com/

  2. publisher_sa

    Emma, there is no easy solution anymore. That time has passed. I'm not criticizing Arizona for putting the problem on the forefront of the agenda of worthless politicians. I'm however squarely against putting the problem on police officers plates as it will hugely increase violence. On balance this article was about the travel industry and Florida's tourism industry. Florida has its own illegal immigration problems but adopting an Arizona policy will severely damage foreign tourism to this state and I'm not sure that Florida can handle that economically after the bashing it got in real estate and construction. That's all. I remember my parents stories about the German roadblocks during World War II. Not a pretty future.

  3. Richardshelbyfl

    USA for whites only. Deport all Hisapnics, Latinos, Cubans, Haitians, Arabs, Jews, etc. Legal or illegal, it doesn;t matter. If we have laws like SB 1070 on the books and we use them to send the message, we don't want immigrants and minorities here, we will evenually win. Vote for Tea Party endorsed conservative Republicans only. Not to immigrant Children like Rubio. We don;t need them in our gov. or country. Brazil can keep her third world citizens over there, please don't come.
    Arizona all the way.
    Support SB 1070.

  4. publisher_sa

    I had hoped that this kind of hateful ignorance would not find this website. Actually I am surprised. As a test I will keep your comment on (for now) since freedom of speech is a freedom after all. But I have to say that Hitler would have been proud of you.

  5. Richardshelbyfl

    Deport all the minorities out of USA. That will solve our problems. We should have visitors only from Europe. Let's expand Arizona's SB 1070 to include all non-whites. What are we afraid of. We are the majority we will vote for it. I hope the Arizona police will use this law to send a clear message to all non-whites, please go back to your land of origins.
    USA for whites only.

  6. tommylee

    I guess the Ku Klux Klan is still omni present in the south.

  7. Richardshelbyfl

    That's the point. If you are pure White, I hope you'll join us in stopping these minorities and their invasions. We are suffering for being forced to live with them. I think the immigration law SB 1070 is a start. It will give us the power to ID them first, know who they are and then we can work on laws to take this mockery civil rights that allows minorities to take over our rights, schools, neighborhoods, etc. we have the polls on our side, we need to draft an expansion law to send all immigrants first; then all other non European-whites must also go. We hope all Whites will join the White people's parties and White organizations, specially the ones that disallow membership to any other.

    Thanks for keeping my message. We rather be truthful and tell the minorities we really do not like to live next to them. Period. And then let the laws decide which race has the right to choose. We are the majority, we will win. We prevailed with SB 1070, the rest will follow. The Republicans seem to be standing firm on our side, for the most part, I hope the Jews and the minority foreigners do not buy them once they get in the office. We really would like to see mass shipping of these kinds to their countries, this should include blacks, Asians…all minorities.
    Deport all immigrants now and close the gates. Only European White visitors should be allowed into USA. We need more SB 1070 type laws.

  8. publisher_sa

    Oh Richard I got your point quite clear and as a “pure” white Northern European myself, I must say that your ignorance is beyond my comprehension, especially if you think that getting rid of all immigrants and non European whites (Australians and white South African I guess?) is going to solve this country's problems and you can live happily every after. (Look at Japan in the 16 hundreds or the fate of your adored Adolf Hitler and how he left behind Germany after committing suicide).

    The way you express yourself Richard, gives the impression that you had some form of education beyond grade school, your beliefs however have been stuck in a world of black or white that defies any understanding of anything you ever learned. It points at hate, which you try to hide by using dogmatic verbage that implies democratic options in your clean up plan.
    It's time for you and those who belief in your message to start playing with the cards in your hands, rather than constantly trying to stack the deck and point at other people as your excuse for being pathetic human beings. Put a little more effort in understanding that your prosperity and happiness is not served by being surrounded by “pure” white Europeans. I lived the first 30 years of my life over there. It's a bit different than what you think.
    I know that this Nation is conducting the earth's biggest historical experiment of mixing races, religions and cultures peacefully and that's not an easy task. It will take a lot of giving and taking in which everyone occasionally has to park their ego for the greater good. Your choice is to embrace it or leave it behind. Of course there are many unbalanced and dangerous “Easy solution” opinions leading to extremism like in your point of view.

    Before you however go out and start screaming from the rooftops that all non whites must go, thinking that you have a blanket all white' support, realize that Barack Obama was elected President of this country only 586 days ago (today), which took a lot of votes from the White Majority you are referring to as being on your side.

  9. publisher_sa

    Oh Richard I got your point quite clear and as a “pure” white Northern European myself, I must say that your ignorance is beyond my comprehension, especially if you think that getting rid of all immigrants and non European whites (Australians and white South African I guess?) is going to solve this country's problems and you can live happily every after. (Look at Japan in the 16 hundreds or the fate of your adored Adolf Hitler and how he left behind Germany after committing suicide).

    The way you express yourself Richard, gives the impression that you had some form of education beyond grade school, your beliefs however have been stuck in a world of black or white that defies any understanding of anything you ever learned. It points at hate, which you try to hide by using dogmatic verbage that implies democratic options in your clean up plan.
    It's time for you and those who belief in your message to start playing with the cards in your hands, rather than constantly trying to stack the deck and point at other people as your excuse for being pathetic human beings. Put a little more effort in understanding that your prosperity and happiness is not served by being surrounded by “pure” white Europeans. I lived the first 30 years of my life over there. It's a bit different than what you think.
    I know that this Nation is conducting the earth's biggest historical experiment of mixing races, religions and cultures peacefully and that's not an easy task. It will take a lot of giving and taking in which everyone occasionally has to park their ego for the greater good. Your choice is to embrace it or leave it behind. Of course there are many unbalanced and dangerous “Easy solution” opinions leading to extremism like in your point of view.

    Before you however go out and start screaming from the rooftops that all non whites must go, thinking that you have a blanket all white' support, realize that Barack Obama was elected President of this country only 586 days ago (today), which took a lot of votes from the White Majority you are referring to as being on your side.

Leave a Comment