A recently launched inclusion campaign by Charlotte’s visitor arm has convinced an airline convention to keep its May convention in the city despite the group’s opposition to North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2.
The Regional Airline Association said with the Charlotte Regional Visitor Authority’s new “Always Welcome” campaign, “the city is further demonstrating that its warm and welcoming spirit will be on display during our convention,” according to its website.
The CRVA said it launched the campaign earlier this month to tout Charlotte as a welcoming place to do business, and to help encourage decision-makers to choose Charlotte for their events.
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The messaging can be seen on the Westin’s exterior, Center City news racks, area billboards, the BB&T Ballpark and at the EpiCentre.
“In the words of Charlotte’s Mayor, Jennifer Roberts, travel to Charlotte ‘reinforces ... the message that Charlotte did the right thing in affirming our commitment to equality and nondiscrimination, and that Charlotte should not be punished for standing up for equality,’” the RAA said.
House Bill 2 did away with Charlotte’s ordinance that would have extended legal protections to LGBT individuals. House Bill 2 also says transgender people must use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate; the Charlotte ordinance had said they could use the facility of the gender with which they identify.
The RAA hosts its 41st annual convention in Charlotte May 9-12.
At least 20 conventions and events have backed out of Charlotte because of concerns over House Bill 2, and another 36 are hesitant, the CRVA says.
The loss of all 56 events could cost the city more than $86 million in visitor spending.