Tourism conference in Tucson dealing with 1070

Posted: Updated:

It's an annual retreat for Arizona's tourism industry to learn how to improve business, customer service, and profits.  

But this year's boycotts brought on by the signing of SB 1070 are taking a bite out of those profits. So this year's Governor's Conference on Tourism at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort will also focus on how to deal with that.

It's been more than 2 months since the governor signed SB 1070 into law.  Boycotts of the state from those opposed to the bill soon followed.

"It's been a difficult situation with the boycott,"  The Westward Look Resort has been a southern Arizona fixture for nearly a hundred years. General Manager Alan Klein says even they're not immune to the effects of 1070.

But his goal is to separate tourism from politics, "Come to the Westward Look, come to the state of Arizona. See what we have to offer. See how this political landscape isn't changed when you come visit our resort."

Those in the tourism industry statewide have tried to send a similar message to potential visitors as they deal with the aftermath of the state boycotts.

"They're canceling those meetings or more importantly than anything, they're not calling us for next year's meetings. Or 2012's meetings,"  Debbie Johnson of the state's hotel and lodging association says the boycott is one of the key topics people in the hospitality business will discuss at the annual gathering of industry experts in Tucson.

"The hardest thing for me when i talk about the senate bill and the boycott is that, we have to remember that Arizona is the same place now that it was 6 months ago."

Just with a different political climate.

Yet she says the amenities and sites offered to visitors make Arizona a great place to be, "And I think that's the message that we need to remind people."

Klein says they're seeing signs of recovery and he remains optimistic, "I think the signs of life are on the horizon."

Arizona governor brewer will address the crowd of nearly 400 tourism professionals Tuesday afternoon.