Task force plans to 'repair' Arizona's image due to SB1070Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX – Gov. Brewer will tell you Arizona does not have an image problem and that it is the critics who have the problem.
Regardless, Arizona's economy depends on business people feeling at home here. The governor met with a group including hotel managers, AAA, and Convention and Visitors Bureaus from around the state.
For weeks politicians and celebrities have been hammering away at Arizona. Latin pop singer Shakira said, "I could be detained and arrested and taken away."
Protesters are painting a picture of Arizona as unwelcoming and racist.
Gov Brewer says, “It's all based on info that's not true. They need to get their facts straight."
The governor is asking tourism industry leaders for help. One of them, Debbie Johnson, who runs the state's hotel and lodging association, says she has heard an earful from would-be visitors.
She says, "Nasty phone calls, hateful emails literally by the hundreds….You're racist, a disgrace and it's on both sides of the issue."
Since Gov. Brewer signed Senate Bill 1070 more than 30 groups and conventions have canceled events in Arizona, endangering the jobs of 200,000 people working in hospitality jobs.
Johnson explains, “We need to do something No.1 to stop the bleeding."
A group has been formed to come up with a plan to re-brand Arizona and reverse the damage already done.
Johnson says, “I think advertisements will be a component. PR, grassroots…everything's on the table right now."
They are working to have a new marketing plan to repair Arizona's tarnished image by mid-June.
The State Department of Commerce has thrown in $250,000 to the effort.