Mississippi and North Carolina both recently passed laws that many have considered anti-LGBT.  This has earned the displeasure of various tourists, bloggers and celebrities, who have decided to not visit those states.  This isn’t the first time that a “travel boycott” has been proposed; many foreigners refused to visit the USA during the Bush Administration, and many Americans refuse to visit Cuba as long as the Castro family are in power.  Yet regardless of your political opinions, it’s not fair to hurt somebody else’s business simply because they happen to in a place whose laws you don’t like.  I recently came across an article that discussed some of the reasons that travel boycotts waste time, and here is what they had to say:

They hit the wrong people: You might not agree with certain laws or leaders, but people aren’t always their governments, and lumping everybody together is narrow-minded and misguided.  Governments don’t always reflect the will of their people, and those people are often honest, hard-working business owners who need to put food on the table.  Though the shouts of travel boycotters sometimes add to the pressure of elected officials, it’s never going to be the main reason that somebody will change their minds.

They aren’t enough: South Africa didn’t end apartheid because of a drop in tourist numbers.  It was governmental, domestic and corporate sanctions.  Indiana softened its anti-LGBT law when corporations and conferences pulled out en masse, not because road trippers stopped visiting all the different roadside attractions there.  South Africa’s apartheid government collapsed after major banks and businesses stopped doing business with it, not because Kruger National Park had fewer visitors.

Travel brings change: Shutting people off from the world won’t do any good; you need to embrace them and show them a better way.  If you want to change things, travel and educate people about the wider world; staying at home will just hurt those who might not have control over their government.

The author of this article is fairly liberal, making a point that he doesn’t support the laws in Mississippi or North Carolina and wasn’t at all a supporter of Bush.  But he does make a good point that boycotting these places because you don’t agree with the laws there is misguided.  He argues that if you are going to take a stand against a law or government you don’t like, targeting a random business owner who happens to be from there is the wrong way to do it.  And whether you’re liberal or conservative, he’s got a point.