Hey Arizona, Looks Like Boycotts Are Bad for Business!

The state's tourism agency warns that SB 1070 protests could impact the economy for years.

By Naima Ramos-Chapman Sep 28, 2010

I always thought conservatives were fiscally conservative, but it seems that holding on to discriminatory laws like SB1070 don’t strike them as bad business deals. According to Elise Foley of The American Independent, the tourism industry warns that the SB1070 boycotts could have lasting impacts on the economy for years to come, and it’s something other states should take into account when introducing their copycat bills.

"I think in the coming year or two we will probably see the biggest effects because … the people who have contracts that they are about to sign or are in negotiations … are the ones who are backing off," Debbie Johnson of the Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association told an Arizona TV station yesterday.

Foley points out that the state’s tourism office awarded a $1 million dollar contract to a public relations firm to try to repair its image.

Early last month ColorLines’ Julianne Hing reported on the impact of the boycott in cities across the country. While dozens of cities have passed resolutions meant to show their solidarity with protestors in Arizona, some are still hanging on to questionable connections with the state. For instance, despite Chicago’s well-intentioned stance against SB 1070, it still holds lucrative contract deals with the brown bashing state. 

Still, the boycott’s impact can’t be denied. According to Hing:

USA Today reported that Phoenix hotels had lost $11.8 million to conference cancellations since SB 1070 became law, though individual hotel reservations haven’t been hurt. The Arizona Republic reported that one Arizona-based medical records business had to relocate to Las Vegas because it was losing so much business. And local business has been hurt badly enough that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer set aside $250,000 of city funds to create a tourism task force to combat the boycott talk–though the governor’s constant warnings about phantom headless bodies melting in the Arizona desert probably isn’t boosting tourism either.

Foley writes that it may be hard to gauge the real economic impact of the boycotts. But whether they’re actually depressing the economy or just depressing the minds of legislators, if the efforts are slowly de-clawing copycat bills, I think it’s safe to say it’s working out just fine.