Boycotts over SB-1070 could cost Phoenix up to $90 million

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

>>> Despite the monetary loss, do you support SB 1070? Take our poll to the right of this article.

PHOENIX - Arizona's hotel and tourism industry is seeing a decline in the number of events cancelled in protest of the state's new immigration law.

On Tuesday the Phoenix City Council discussed the potential economic impact that Senate Bill 1070 could have on convention and hotel business.

A Phoenix official says so far at least one convention has cancelled and 15 other contracts have stalled amidst the immigration debate.

Statewide there are signs that losses may not be as steep as initially anticipated.

David Krietor, deputy city manager with the city, explains, “We've had a number of conventions that cancelled or were close to signing and they stopped considering Phoenix.”

A Phoenix official estimates the city could face $90 million in losses in the next five years because of SB 1070 but state-wide the tourism industry is hoping the cancellations and pull-outs will be fewer and farther between.
Krietor says, “We're definitely seeing that information come in a lot slower. We saw it come in initially the first week and a half and it's definitely slow down.”

By late last week, Arizona's Hotel and Lodging Association has recorded 23 convention cancellations from this summer all the way to 2013. That could cost the state anywhere from $6 to $10 million.

The Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association’s Kristen Jarnagin says a combination of factors may be starting to stem the losses. “I think people are maybe taking a pause. I think people are realizing what we've really been saying is ‘Who is going to hurt is not the politicians, but innocent workers of the tourism industry’.”

In places like Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon officials tell 3TV they have seen minimal fallout from the bill in terms of tourism.

Bruce Brossman tells 3TV in a phone interview, “We're a destination that a lot of people want to go to so even if a few people want to change their plans, there are probably enough who aren't to make up for those that do.”
While cancelled events are easy to track, it is impossible to know how many have stopped considering Arizona as a destination altogether.

Jarnagin says, “What we'll never be able to gage is how many people are booking meetings right now that maybe aren't considering Arizona not because of their feeling on the bill, but because of our image.”

In terms of image, Krietor says the majority of people who are cancelling or threatening to cancel their events are doing so because of a belief that Arizona is not committed to civil rights for all individuals.

>>> Despite the monetary loss, do you support SB 1070? Take our poll to the right of this article.