by Sarah J.F. Braley | July 26, 2017
In a letter to the editor of The New York Times, referring to the paper's article, "Tax Dollars Become Weapon on a New Front in the Culture War," about liberal-leaning states banning government-funded travel to conservative states with restrictive laws, the president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, Roger Dow, urged an end to such boycotts.
Dow wrote: "Travel and tourism leaders rightly raise the long-term consequences of California's ban on state-funded travel to Texas because of a law perceived as hostile to gay and transgender people.
"The United States travel industry shares this concern. While bans and boycotts of this nature come from a well-intentioned place, the people who suffer are the workers whose livelihoods depend on travel to their region. Fewer visitors mean fewer jobs.
"Every $1 million in sales of travel goods and services directly generates nine nonexportable American jobs. Even if a boycott like California's results in the repeal of unpopular legislation, chances are that the targeted legislators will still be able to support their families. But the same may not be true for a hotel front-desk clerk, restaurant waiter or rental car agent.
As Mark Twain said, 'Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.' I believe in living by that maxim rather than punishing communities for the actions of politicians."