At least 20 conventions and events have backed out of Charlotte because of concerns over North Carolina’s controversial new LGBT bill, and another 36 are hesitant, the city’s tourism agency says.
The loss of all 56 events could cost the city more than $86 million in visitor spending.
According to the Charlotte Regional Visitor Authority, seven events have now canceled and another 13 dropped their plans after reaching the final stages in their selection process.
The NBA, scheduled to host the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, falls into the “hesitant/concerned” category. The league said Friday it considers the LGBT law “problematic” but stopped short of announcing it would move the All-Star Game.
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All told, the CRVA says, the total loss of projected direct spending from House Bill 2 fallout would be $86.5 million from 56 events, and 127,288 hotel rooms.
North Carolina’s new law limits legal protections for LGBT individuals by creating a statewide class of protected citizens. The measure was a response to a provision in Charlotte’s expanded non-discrimination ordinance that would allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender with which they identify.
Along with conventions, major corporations across the state have voiced their opposition to the measure. Charlotte city leaders launched an inclusion campaign this week in an attempt to tout the city as a welcoming place.
“We will remain in close communication with our clients and visitors to ensure they always feel welcome in our city,” CRVA chief executive Tom Murray said.