LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky hotel would have hosted two conventions that reportedly pulled out of negotiations due to California’s state-funded travel ban, the hotel’s general manager said.
“We received calls from each convention withdrawing from negotiations due to the California ban,” Omni Louisville Hotel General Manager Scott Stuckey said in a release Saturday. “We have used discretion in discussing the issue and have not identified the conventions, in hopes that we could persuade them to do business with Omni and Louisville in the future.”
The Courier-Journal reports the conventions pulled out of contract negotiations with the hotel after California Attorney General Xavier Becerra added Kentucky to the list of states where California state-funded travel is banned, due to state laws viewed as discriminatory.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called the hotel’s announcement proof the travel ban is a “real threat to our growing tourism economy.”
“We’ve seen in other states, like North Carolina, when these travel bans go into effect, it does not get any better. It just leads to more and more bad announcements,” Fischer said in a video posted to Twitter.
Fischer urged state leaders to clarify the language of the Kentucky law that set the California ban into motion so it would not hurt the economy of Louisville or the rest of the state.
Fischer and Lexington, Kentucky, Mayor Jim Gray wrote to California’s attorney general to request exemptions for their municipalities, but were rejected.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin has called the travel ban the “silliest thing” he’d ever heard.
Fischer said the ban had already cost Kentucky $2 million in future revenue, as two Chicago-based companies had dropped Louisville as a location.
State lawmakers challenged that math, though, arguing that the unnamed conventions had never signed contracts to come to the city and that Fischer’s and other’s claims had been exaggerated.
Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter said in an email Thursday that “these were conferences prepared to sign contracts. And our city lost that business, plain and simple.”
Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com