Arizona's Immigration Law Hits Tourism Hard
The last thing in the world Nevada and Las Vegas need now is an Arizona-type immigration bill.
If the "sin" doesn't undo sin city, the proposed Arizona-like immigration bill might.
Speaking to Travel Weekly, the travel trade publication, Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority lamented that Arizona lost about $90 million dollars in tourism revenue because meetings, conventions and related businesses stopped doing business with Arizona to protest the state's strict immigration law, which many believe leads to racial profiling.
Terrified, Las Vegas and Nevada officials are now trying to thwart efforts to pass a similar law in their state by attempting to block the ballot initiative sponsored by Nevada state Assemblyman, Chad Christensen (R). In fact the Kennedy-looking Christensen's web site touts him for US Senator saying, "Nevadans are on the same page as Chad Christensen when it comes to cracking down on illegal immigration."
That's very bad news to Ralenkotter who pointed out that Nevada has the highest rate of unemployment in the United States (14%), and are desperate to protect their tourism revenue.
Arizona tourism officials, woefully unprepared for the passage of their immigration bill, have urged tourism officials around the country to be very vigilant about immigration initiatives in their own states.
Travel Weekly reports that at least five states (South Carolina, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Michigan) are considering tough immigration legislation which could have a devastating affect on their state's tourism dollars and tarnish their reputations.
Obviously underlying all this is an increasingly compelling need for federal action, says the American Hotel and Lodging Association . The controversies over the immigration legislation and the "hit" tourism is taking in this time of enormous economic struggle make federal action critical, says the AHLA.
In the case of Las Vegas, no one doubts that travel and tourism are the engines that drive the economy.
But on the other hand, will attempts to block immigration ballot initiatives make the tourism officials look obstructionistic?
Ralenkotter replies that they'll do anything they can to make sure travel and tourism jobs are protected.
It's time for the federal government to step in and create a national immigration policy, and stop the loss of of vital tourism dollars.