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5/11/2010 2:38:00 PM
No immigration stir at the Grand Canyon
Few cancellations in Tusayan area
Patrick Whitehurst/WGCN
Arizona's immigration law has not had a big effect on the Tusayan, Grand Canyon area's tourists business. A few cancellations have been recorded at a number of hotels, such as the Red Feather Lodge, pictured above, and the Squire Inn.
Patrick Whitehurst/WGCN
Arizona's immigration law has not had a big effect on the Tusayan, Grand Canyon area's tourists business. A few cancellations have been recorded at a number of hotels, such as the Red Feather Lodge, pictured above, and the Squire Inn.

Patrick Whitehurst
Associate Grand Canyon News Editor

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. - Arizona's tumultuous new SB1070 immigration law hasn't had much of an effect on visitation near the Grand Canyon, according to officials in the Tusayan area. Amidst reports of boycotts in other areas of the state, businesses in Tusayan have seen few cancellations due to the controversial law. Craig Andresen, executive director for the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce, said the Chamber has received a number of

e-mails regarding the matter, but only one cancellation.

"We really haven't seen a whole lot of effect from the cause, other than getting

e-mails and phone calls at the chamber office," Andresen said. "We do know of at least one actual cancellation at this point for a trip that was supposed to come in August."

Andresen added that the e-mails his office received had a "cookie-cutter" feel.

"The e-mail effort itself is pretty much a cookie-cutter type e-mail campaign. Most of the e-mails are starting out almost exactly the same way. Some people have gone so far as to say they will never step foot in the state of Arizona again. The e-mails vary a little bit, but you can tell there are definitely talking points that have been handed out through that. How many of those people that we are getting e-mails from were actually planning a trip to Arizona or a trip to the Grand Canyon? There's no way of telling. In a way it's almost starting to become a viral type of phenomenon at this point. I know the Arizona Office of Tourism has received several hundred e-mails at this point; other chambers around the state have been getting e-mails. Some of the phone calls and e-mails that other chambers are getting are in support of what Arizona has done with this new legislation, but I think by and large most are against it."

He said his office has had calls of support as well.

"We've had a couple of calls and e-mails from people that don't think Arizona has gone far enough in dealing with the immigration issue here," Andresen said. "They're claiming that they are not going to come because we're not doing enough. It's a very highly charged situation and I think people are definitely acting out of emotion at this point. The first few days after (Congressman Raul) Grijalva issued the call to boycott Arizona; it was within those first few days that we started getting e-mails. It kind of tapered off a little bit after about a week or so, then with the Phoenix Suns wearing the Los Suns Jerseys, now it seems to be flaring back up. They wore those in the playoff game to protest the new piece of legislation."

While he doesn't foresee any long term effects at the Grand Canyon, Andresen said the viral nature of the campaign against SB1070 is cause for concern.

"I know in some areas, specifically maybe down in Phoenix, they're seeing the brunt of that a little more. I know of at least 10 conventions that have been cancelled because of that. For most travelers, for most people that want to come to the Canyon, I really don't think this is going to have that much of an effect, but the viral nature of these e-mails is cause for some concern," Andresen said.

According to Julie Aldaz, controller assistant/general manager of the Red Feather Lodge in Tusayan, the immigration issue has not had a strong effect on visitors staying at the hotel.

"We've only had one cancellation that I am aware of. They said they are not coming to the state of Arizona because of the immigration bill," Aldaz said. "We had bigger cancellations from the ash over in Europe where they couldn't fly."

Greg Bryan, general manager for the Grand Canyon Best Western Squire Inn in Tusayan, said there have been a couple of cancellations at the local hotel due to the immigration bill.

"We've had some. It's not as rampant as they've had in Phoenix," Bryan said.

Arizona's SB1070, designed to require law enforcement officials to check the immigration status of those they suspect are in the country illegally, has spurred numerous protests throughout the state and brought Arizona into the national spotlight. Congressman Raul Grijalva called for a boycott of the state following the passage of the bill. More recently, the United State Chamber of Commerce organization has joined forced with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry in opposing the boycott.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, May 2, 2011
Article comment by: mike smith

The Grand Canyon and the state of Arizona has lost out on what I would estimate to be at least $5000 of my tourism dollars this summer. I love the Grand Canyon. It would have probably been a regular destination for our family for many years. That could add up to some serious money and Im only one person. As long as that law is around I will never set foot in Arizona.

Posted: Friday, May 14, 2010
Article comment by: No name provided

you're failing to cover half the story- typical news media! There are people actually planning to come to Arizona in support of SB1070 as well. Do your research on that!

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