Columbia says impact of NAACP travel advisory still uncertain

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COLUMBIA - Columbia tourism officials say they are hoping the NAACP travel advisory that was issued back in June won't effect on the number of visitors coming to Columbia.

Megan McConachie, the strategic communications manager for the Columbia Conventions and Visitors Bureau, said it's too early to tell.

“We are hoping that it won’t have a negative effect on the tourism industry that we see here, it’s a really important part of our local economy,” McConachie said.

The NAACP is advising African Americans to use caution when traveling within the state.

In a statement released Thursday, Rep. Brandon Ellington, D-Kansas City, said, “The travel advisory issued by the NAACP is a warning to citizens and those individuals who plan on visiting the state of the harsh reality that Missouri not only recognizes discrimination, but endorses it.”

The advisory stems from Senate Bill 43, which would make it harder to sue a business over racial discrimination.

McConachie is hopeful people will realize Columbia has open arms.

“We’ve always really promoted Columbia as a welcoming destination, and we really do believe it is. We’re going to just continue to work really closely with our industry partners and people from businesses all across the community to make sure that hospitality is always really top of mind.”

The NAACP travel advisory is in effect until Aug. 28 across the state.