AZ Tourism Bounces Back From Boycott

Rebecca L. McClay Cronkite, Arizona Daily Star (Tucson), September 27, 2010

At FireSky Resort and Spa, Jim Hollister’s inbox swelled with e-mails from guests demanding cancellations just after SB 1070 became law.

But the general manager of the luxury resort said business has been pleasantly brisk lately as fewer customers seem fazed by Arizona’s controversial immigration law.

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Kristen Jarnagin, vice president of communications for the Arizona Tourism Alliance, expects that the worst of SB 1070’s effect on Arizona’s tourism industry has passed.

When the boycott on tourism was rescinded, it was the beginning of the end to the deterioration of the state brand, she said.

Still, she cautioned, “It’s difficult to know what the long-term impacts will be, because when meetings book, they usually book two or three years out. So this could impact us for the next three years.”

Arizona’s tourism industry lost upward of $15 million when more than 40 groups canceled hotel stays in protest of SB 1070, said Jarnagin. The lost revenue doesn’t include groups that may have considered booking but never made reservations, she said.

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Booking rates in Arizona hotels are up over 2009, but those increases lag slightly behind the national rebound, DeRaad said.

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