/ Modified feb 6, 2017 11:21 a.m.

White House, Los Pinos can Learn from Arizona-Sonora, Tourism Official Says

Arizona and Sonora plan to make their relationship independent of U.S./Mexico policies and politics.

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A City of Tucson official worries that the Trump administration’s moves to expand the wall between Mexico and the U.S. could affect Arizona’s economy, especially when it comes to individuals from Mexico coming to Arizona to shop.

January and February are traditionally slow months for those visiting Tucson from Mexico. But all over Southern Arizona merchants have said it is even slower than usual. Felipe Garcia heads up strategic partnerships and Mexico marketing for Visit Tucson, the city’s tourism bureau.

“There may be some individuals who may decide to hold off and stay in Mexico because, again, they are passionate, they are angry on the border relationship,” Garcia said. “And they say, ‘Wow, I want people in the U.S. to understand the value that I have.’ Yes you are important, but this is not the way to solve this problem.”

Solving relationship problems, said Garcia, takes two sides willing to listen and compromise.

"I think we need to have a stronger, better dialogue with our elected officials. All of this is happening at a national level at the top of the White House and the top of Los Pinos,” Garcia said, referring to the residence of the president of Mexico.

According to Garcia, the occupants of the two national seats of power can learn from the way Arizona and Sonora do business.

“It is about personal relationships, communications and the understanding that we are working together."

Tucson will continue to build a relationship that can withstand whatever national policies are implemented, Garcia said.

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