Arizona boycott is hot topic among state tourism officials 

Amid controversy surrounding the Arizona boycott, travel leaders from across the country gathered in The City on Monday to discuss how the issue could continue to affect tourism.

The discussion — which included Arizona tourism leaders and the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau chief — was part of the 28th annual California Travel Industry Association’s California Conference on Tourism, a three-day event featuring experts who will talk about how businesses can push through and succeed during the tough economic and political times.

During the panel discussion, Joe D’Alessandro, president of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, said boycotts such as the one in Arizona hurt working-class people more than they influence political change.

“The boycott of the travel industry is the wrong thing to do,” D’Alessandro said. “Why have the people that need the jobs most in this bad economy suffer the most because of political action that elected officials did?”

After the Arizona law was passed, City Attorney Dennis Herrera called on San Francisco officials to boycott Arizona businesses and sever all contracts based in the state. Mayor Gavin Newsom put the brakes on a boycott and instead convened a working group to examine all contracts with Arizona companies. He has since barred city officials from traveling to Arizona on official business.

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