KVOA: The Arizona Office of Tourism has named Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords "Tourism Champion of the Year."
"Congresswoman Giffords has a long history of supporting the Arizona tourism industry," says Debbie Johnson, president and CEO of the Arizona Hotel Lodging Association. "And when the industry needed her most, she stepped in to help where she could."
Arizona lost business last year, after the Legislature passed the controversial immigration enforcement law, SB 1070. Congressman Raul Grijalva even called for organizations to boycott the state.
Giffords, though she disagreed with the law, rallied to oppose the boycott, saying it would "unfairly punish workers and businesses that already have been hard-hit by the recession."
Giffords sent letters to more than 75 cities and organizations, urging that they reverse plans to boycott Arizona.
For her effort, Giffords was honored last week, when the award was presented to her by the Arizona Office of Tourism at the 2011 Governor's Conference on Tourism in Paradise Valley.
At that ceremony, Johnson said "Many of Giffords' letters changed and opened minds and, in few caes, saved desperately needed business for our state. She is a true tourism champion."
More than 400 tourism industry members from both the public and private sector attended the event.