NAACP's Travel Advisory Is Costing St. Louis Business, Says City

August 16, 2017

The head of the city's tourism and convention agency said hotels have lost business as a result of a travel advisory issued by the national NAACP last month and that her industry is "being used as a weapon" in the political arena.

"We have been notified by a number of area hotels that they have lost meeting groups that were in contract phase," said Kathleen "Kitty" Ratcliffe, president of Explore St. Louis in a statement Monday morning. "We've also been working with a number of organizations that are already contracted to help them address any concerns that they have had expressed from their attendees."

The statement did not specify how much business was lost as a result and Ratcliffe was not immediately available to address questions regarding her statement. But a spokesman for Explore St. Louis, Anthony Paraino, said: "We do not have permission from the hotels or the groups to give their information to the press."

The NAACP travel advisory issued last month came at the urging of Rod Chapel, head of the Missouri NAACP after state legislators passed a bill making it harder for employees to make the case for workplace discrimination.

The advisory was the first of its kind from the country's oldest and largest civil rights organization and set off a round of media interviews nationwide for Chapel and other NAACP leaders.

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