Metro Weekly

Virginia Launches New LGBT Tourism Marketing Efforts

lgbt-virginia

It has been nearly two years since Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the creation of a LGBT Tourism Task Force — and now it has finally done something.

Yesterday, Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) announced the launch of its first statewide LGBT tourism marketing initiative, including a new landing page for LGBT travelers and Virginia is for Lovers PRIDE merchandise. The announcement precedes this weekend’s Virginia Pride Festival, where Virginia is for Lovers PRIDE merchandise and a signature LOVEwork will be unveiled.

“Virginia is proud to be an open and welcoming destination for every visitor attracted by our scenic mountains and beaches, as well as our world-renowned restaurants, wineries and breweries,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “I am pleased the Virginia Tourism Corporation has created this landing page to connect travelers with inclusive, LGBT-friendly establishments across the Commonwealth. Virginia is truly for lovers, and we hope you have an unforgettable experience visiting the greatest state in the greatest nation on Earth!”

LGBT travelers and their families can now visit www.virginia.org/LGBT to discover food, lodging and attractions around the Commonwealth designated as LGBT-friendly. The landing page also features places for LGBT couples to get married or honeymoon, as well as family-friendly destinations.
 
“Travelers to Virginia can experience our legendary historic attractions, more than 280 wineries and 160 craft breweries, outdoor recreation, amazing dining scene, the arts, beautiful beaches, and so much more,” said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation, which has created an LGBT Tourism Resource Guide for the travel and tourism industry in Virginia. The guide features a case study on the successful OutRVA, which first launched in 2014 by Richmond Region Tourism and community partners.
 
Virginia’s efforts put it among a very small group of state tourism programs with active online LGBT marketing programs. In 2009, Massachusetts was the first to launching a campaign, later followed by New York. Nevada had launched an effort in 2011 but has since stopped.
 
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Troy Petenbrink is Metro Weekly's contributing writer for food and travel. He can be reached at thegaytraveler@gmail.com.