UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office issues new travel advice for Mississippi and North Carolina

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom has updated its travel recommendations for the United States to advise LGBT travelers of recently passed anti-LGBT laws in the states of Mississippi and North Carolina.  The entry reads, “The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country. LGBT travelers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi. Before travelling please read our general travel advice for the LGBT community.”  The updated recommendation represents a rare intervention on the part of the British government into the controversy.

Meanwhile, the anti-LGBT laws in the two states continue to damage their tourism and convention industries.  According to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, more than 20 conventions have pulled out or stopped considering going to the state, creating an negative economic impact in the millions.  Mike Cashion, the Executive Director of the Mississippi Hospitality & Restaurant Association, wrote in a letter to the Mississippi House that he had already heard of potential visitors who had changed their travel plans in light of the new law.

Senior leaders from Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Marriott International have been particularly vocal in their opposition to the laws.  Starwood Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel Ken Siegel told the International New York Times, “we know that some guests have cancelled booking at our North Carolina properties after the law passed to take their business outside the state.”  And Thomas Maloney, Senior Director of Government Affairs at Marriott, said “the biggest risk we are looking to measure is not cancellations right now but bookings that don’t come in down the line.”

Read more coverage from The Guardian

Read more coverage from the International New York Times