Jan 02 2013

USA TODAY: Phoenix convention slump tied to Ariz. immigration law

PHOENIX — Even though convention halls across the country have faced tough times because of the recession and tightening travel budgets, Phoenix officials say concerns over Arizona’s image have exacerbated its troubles.

In a speech to about two dozen event planners from across the country, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton touted the city’s newest assets, including a light-rail system and downtown university campus. But his speech soon shifted to an uneasy topic: Arizona Senate Bill 1070, the state’s much-debated immigration law, and perceptions of the state’s politics.

A handful of large, national organizations publicly canceled events at the Phoenix Convention Center in the wake of the law’s passage in 2010, including Alpha Phi Alpha, the National Minority Supplier Development Council and National Council of Teachers of English. The groups cited members’ concerns with the law, including that it would promote discrimination and racial profiling.

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