Like all the overheated rhetoric over Arizona’s SB 1070 immigration law and the resultant boycotts weren’t enough, a new tourism ad put out by Sonora Turismo (a state tourism board in Mexico) threatens to take the dispute to a whole new level.
The half-page full color ad was published in the Arizona Republic on Friday, targeting potential visitors from Arizona.
It says “In Sonora, We Are Looking For People From Arizona” with a military man in the background on the lookout using binoculars.
It was likely meant to be a sarcastic and funny take against SB 1070, but it makes it seem like Sonora will be targeting Arizonans in reprisal, if they come to Mexico.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a prominent advocate for stricter immigration laws, is urging people to call the Mexican Tourism Board and ask them what the ad means.
He’s demanding an apology from the Mexican Tourism Board and has called for Arizonans to boycott travel to Mexico.
Sonora Turismo put out a follow-up ad on Saturday which says “In Sonora, We Are Looking For People From Arizona… Who Want To Have A Great Time.”
They say it was meant to be this way, in two parts, with the first half on Friday and the second half on Saturday. Sheriff Arpaio says they only put out the second ad because of the blowback.
Be that as it may, the whole thing has now snowballed into a full-fledged boycott of Mexico, with people afraid of what will happen if they cross over.
Let’s put aside the politics and the rhetoric and get a little tourism-ad perspective here. Sonora Tourism had no business poking its nose into the immigration debate, even if the ad was meant to be sarcastic.
Under the best of circumstances, it would be a tourism ad gone horribly wrong. But right now, with people tuned to the immigration debate and taking sides, it will choke off whatever was left of tourism between Arizona and Mexico.