Marketing & Sponsorships

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Hospitality Industry Weighs in on Separation of Church and State

1 Jun, 2015

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

The separation of church and state has never been more apparent than in the hospitality industry, and never more so than lately. From the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Indiana to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s attempt to enact the Marriage and Conscience Order, CVBs and sports commissions have been using the not inconsiderable pressures of their industry to convince lawmakers that trying to enforce a moral imperative is not in the best interest of the state and its tourism economy.

A recent poll of those in the hospitality industry allowed meeting planners, event owners, rights holders, convention and expo managers and others to weigh in on the recent hot button topic. Meetings & Conventions Magazine collected responses from upwards of 125 professionals who had much to say on the following questions:

Do you believe local or state laws that some might consider discriminatory should influence your decision to meet in an international destination?

  • 40%: Absolutely

  • 30%: Somewhat

  • 19%: Not significantly

  • 11%: Not at all

Do the civil rights policies of a destination affect the likelihood of your bringing a meeting there?

  • 29%: Absolutely

  • 26%: Somewhat

  • 8%: Not significantly

  • 3%: Not at all

  • 34%: I don’t plan international meetings

Has Arizona’s immigration-related legislation affected your likelihood of holding a meeting in that state?

  • 20%: Absolutely

  • 20%: Somewhat

  • 23%: Not significantly

  • 37%: Not at all

Do you monitor news regarding potentially discriminatory legislation after you have chosen a destination?

  • 22%; Very closely

  • 56%: Somewhat

  • 22%: Not at all

Would you cancel a meeting in a destination that passed a law many attendees would find offensive?

  • 46%: Yes

  • 37%: Not sure

  • 17%: No

Are you aware that Arkansas recently passed a law that in effect, prohibits legal protections for gay people?

  • 36%: Yes

  • 64%: No

Would the passage of such a law affect your decision to meet in Arkansas?

  • 45%: Absolutely

  • 19%: Somewhat

  • 17%: Not significantly

  • 19%: Not at all

Were any of your events affected by Arizona’s passage in 2010 of a controversial immigration enforcement law?

  • 12%: Yes

  • 84%: No

  • 4%: Unsure

Respondents to the poll could also state their opinions, both to specific questions and to the poll in general. The survey noted, “this hot topic garnered lots of feedback, ranging from "bigotry is not good business" to "this survey has been created by a liberal activist." Find full comments at this link.

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