Will You Boycott US Hotel Chains Doing Business in Russia?
Lots of talk on the interwebs about boycotts of the 2014 Winter Olympics and Russian vodka brands for their horrendous stance on LGBT rights. Now the Huffington Post is suggesting there are other worthy targets:
Holiday Inn Express. And Hyatt. And Marriott. And Sheraton. And a whole bunch of other American hotels and hotel chains that have LGBT-inclusive anti-discrimination policies and, perhaps more importantly, have lucrative contracts hosting major LGBT-related events and conventions at their properties worldwide. “U.S. Hotels Investing Heavily in Russia,” blared a headline just two weeks ago on the Russian news site Ria Novosti, reporting on what is a recent and dramatic expansion of American hotel chains in Russia. Marriott plans to open 20 hotels in Russia by 2015. Intercontinental Hotel Group — which includes Holiday Inn — will unveil 100 hotels across Russia by 2020. Chicago-based Hyatt Hotel Corporation has six hotels under development. Radisson, Ritz-Carlton, Hilton and Sheraton are all in on the new action too. Do these companies really want to be associated with a government that may snatch babies from their mothers’ arms or, under the “gay propaganda” ban, will jail anyone, including gay foreigners staying at these hotels, for waving a rainbow flag?
The article brings up some interesting questions, but also targets quite a few hotel brands. To discriminate against all hotels that have plans to open businesses in controversial places seems a bit of a stretch if you ask me. Though putting pressure on them to get involved and put pressure on the local governments certainly can’t hurt. A full boycott, though? That’s ridiculous.
Saying that however, I do personally support some travel-related boycotts because of gay rights issues. But while I may boycott a destination, boycotting a global corporation for one small transgression is one too many buttons for me to press.
What do you think? Will you boycott hotel chains that have plans to do business in Russia?