Emails pour into visitors bureau from tourists boycotting Asheville
ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Tourists from as far as Canada have contacted the Asheville Convention and Visitors Bureau saying they are canceling vacations and plans to retire in Asheville because of HB2, otherwise known as the Bathroom Bill.
"What we've been seeing falls into a couple of categories," Stephanie Brown, director of the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, said. "Some concerns for safety, but primarily people are expressing a statement about not wanting to spend money in North Carolina."
Brown says the Bureau has received upwards of 55 emails.
"I'm sad. A group of eight craft beer enthusiasts had a trip planned to Asheville the mecca of craft beer. However one of us is gay. Our group decided last night to scrap the trip. We are going to San Diego instead," said Mason Meyer of Ohio.
Through a Freedom of Information request, News 13 obtained numerous emails.
One tourist planning a trip to Asheville emailed the CVB writing "We are from Wisconsin...because of HB-2 we will drive straight through."
Another wrote "We feel it (is) un-American to spend our money in your state."
Brown responded to every email and many who received her emails back felt her response was polite and thoughtful. But it's tourist season in Asheville, and Tuesday at the CVB there was a steady stream of tourists like Walter Hammond and his wife from upstate New York.
He's aware of HB-2 but he said he never considered canceling his plans to visit the area this week.
"I'm not actually in favor of the law personally," said Hammond. "I'm going to see the scenery, drink a couple beers and relax."