With boycott Arizona calls becoming ear-splitting, the state's tourism board has gone silent despite the social-media firestorm.
Arizona Iced Tea, erroneously enmeshed in the boycott-Arizona firestorm, quickly noted it actually is based in Long Island, N.Y., but the Arizona Office of Tourism has buried its head in the sand about the boycott issue on Facebook and Twitter.
As the backlash rages over passage Arizona's new immigration law, which will require cops to check people's citizenship papers if authorities suspect they are undocumented, and as some cities ban governmental travel to the state, the Arizona tourism board has chosen to delete any critical comments on its Facebook page.
The destination marketing organization (DMO) issued the following statement on its Facebook page:
"We realize that many people are interested in discussing the recent immigration legislation in Arizona, however, this page is run by the Arizona Office of Tourism, not a regulatory agency. We urge you to reference our rules of engagement as we will be deleting any political, inflammatory or derogatory comments. All the information we have at this time is located at the link below which we will keep updated."
Thus, everything is just fine and dandy in Arizona, if you read the comments on the Arizona Office of Tourism's page.
However, it appears political comments are OK on the tourism board's Facebook page -- as long as they are pro-Arizona tourism and don't mention criticism that the new state law, slated to go into effect this summer, might be seen as racial profiling of Hispanics and violating civil rights.
For example, take a look at these Facebook updates from among the 22,000 fans of Arizona tourism.
Rita Reed Arizona, Your the best state in the US. I was born and raised in South Texas and know exactly what your citizens have been experiencing. As a 3rd generation Hispanic American, I am proud to be AMERICAN! I support Arizona!
Kathryn Parker Whetherhult I support you Arizona!
And, then, there’s this one:
Roland H Pesch I guess you thought my last query was political, as instead of replying, you deleted it.
Let me phrase it as neutrally as I can. I need TRAVEL INFORMATION.
If I go to Arizona, what documents must I carry to prove to your authorities that I am, in fact, a U.S. citizen?
In addition, with threats of travel boycotts, including cancelled meetings and conventions in the offing, you would never know anything was amiss if you took a look at @ArizonaTourism on Twitter, either.
On April 23, the day the governor signed the legislation, @ArizonaTourism issued one tweet.
Are you subscribed to the monthly Arizona Tourism Enewsletter? If not, view the latest at http://ow.ly/1BONO
Since that time, through April 29, with threats to the state's tourism building, there has been only Twitter silence from the Arizona DMO.
It's understandable that the board may not be well-positioned to get into a political debate about immigration policy, but a social media conversation would be preferable to withdrawal.
Meanwhile, several boycott Arizona pages, such as this one, have been popping up on Facebook.
And Arizona Iced Tea, erroneously caught in the crossfire, was a trending topic on Twitter.
While Arizona Iced Tea is based in New York, US Airways and Best Western are two prominent travel brands headquartered in Arizona.