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As national groups issue travel advisories, is Florida at risk of taking a big economic hit?

Four different national civil rights organizations have issued travel advisories to Florida.
Civil rights groups issue Florida travel advisory, warn 'hostile' laws
Posted at 7:10 PM, May 22, 2023

Four national civil rights organizations are calling for a boycott of the Sunshine State due to various laws signed this legislative session by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

This weekend, the national board of the NAACP issued a travel advisory, urging people not to vacation in Florida. The organization called Florida a hostile environment for people of color and the LGBTQ community.

“We are advising African Americans, and others if you travel to Florida, beware,” said Derrick Johnson, President of the NAACP.

It’s unclear how much of an impact these travel advisories can have. Though recent history suggests some states suffered greatly during these kinds of national protests.

In 2010, thousands of protesters filled the streets of Arizona. They were fighting back against what was, at the time, the strictest immigration law in the country.

The so-called “show me your papers” law, required law enforcement to ask for the immigration status of anyone they suspected of being undocumented. Corporations and activist groups united the boycott of the state.

A study from the left-leaning Centers for American Progress found Arizona lost out on $141 million in economic impact from the protests and boycotts.

“Our economic impact just plummeted,” said Lydia Guzman, Arizona state chair of the League of United Latin American Citizens, which has also issued a travel advisory to Florida. “People stopped having conventions in Arizona. People stopped visiting Arizona.”

In 2016, North Carolina passed the controversial “bathroom bill” which required someone to use a public restroom that matches their birth gender. According to research from Out Leadership, an LGBTQ business organization, the Tarheel state lost nearly $400 million dollars. The NCAA and Atlantic Coast Conference moved 15 college championship events from the state, citing values of equality and diversity. Other conventions and conferences were also pulled out.

Florida has already taken a big economic hit in recent weeks. Disney announced it was scrapping plans to build a billion-dollar facility near Orlando which would have created thousands of jobs.

When asked in March about the possibility of a travel advisory from the NAACP, Gov. DeSantis called it a stunt and wasn’t concerned about the potential economic impact.

“I’m not wasting my time on your stunts,” the Governor said. “I’m gonna make sure that we’re getting things done here and we’re gonna continue to make this state a great state.”