The National Council of La Raza has reportedly called for an end to a boycott of Arizona that began after the passage of SB 1070 last year. The group says that they “discouraged other states from enacting similar immigration laws” with the boycott and that it was hurting Arizona workers too much. (states like Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Indiana must have missed La Raza’s memo)
How much did the Arizona boycott cost the state? Advocates for illegal aliens claim Arizona was hurt by their boycott, but given that Arizona’s tourism and convention business was worth $16 billion in direct spending in 2009, and almost $18 billion in 2010, it appears to have had no impact at all. Additionally, their highest profile effort (to get Major League Baseball to pull the 2011 All Star game out of Phoenix) failed miserably.
Even when the boycott was new, Arizona hotels said that the occupancy rate was higher in 2010 than in 2009. “Fundamentally, the boycotts have been unsuccessful,” said Barry Broome, president of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, back in July 2010.
And this year, the tourism industry in Arizona is experiencing growth. “While the nation and Arizona struggle to add new jobs, the state tourism industry may see as many as 20,000 new jobs in 2011. After two years of declines, more people are traveling and many of them are headed to the Grand Canyon State,” notes KOLD-Tucson.
Bottom line is, how does anyone know how much Arizona lost as a result of the boycott? It is impossible to prove a negative. No one knows how much tourism business Arizona would have had if SB 1070 had not passed, or if the advocacy groups had not called for a boycott. It is just as likely that any decline in tourism was a result of the lousy economy. And it is important to also note that the state has probably saved far more than $250 million because of the decline of the illegal alien population and because American workers filled some or most of the jobs vacated by illegal aliens.
With the economic rationale of the boycott called into question, and several states adopting Arizona-style laws this year, along with more coming during 2011, its easy to see why La Raza would be eager to “declare victory and go home”, to use the Vietnam-era phrase.