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US state of Virginia launches LGBTI tourism campaign

US state of Virginia launches LGBTI tourism campaign

The state of Virginia in US has officially launched a campaign in a bid to attract LGBTI tourists to the state.

Launched by the Virginia Tourism Corporation last Friday (23 September), a day before the state’s annual pride march, the campaign includes a new landing page on its website including information on LGBTI-friendly tourist attractions in the state and PRIDE merchandise related to Virginia is for Lovers – the tourism and travel slogan of the state used since 1969 – that is currently on sale.

‘A vacation in Virginia is all about doing the things you love to do with the ones that you love,’ said corporation CEO Rita McClenny.

McClenny added: ‘We are thrilled to offer this new resources for the LGBT community, their friends and their families to help them plan the perfect vacation in Virginia.’

The campaign is the fruition of the LGBTI Tourism Task Force set up by the state’s governor Terry McAuliffe in late 2014. A few months earlier, the city of Richmond within the state has also launched OutRVA, promoting LGBTI tourism to draw tourists to the city.

For a state that raked in about US$23 billion in tourism spending, supported more than 200,000 jobs and generated US$1.6 billion in taxes last year, such a campaign would create larger impacts than expected.

State senator Adam Ebbin, also a member of the governor’s LGBTI Tourism Task Force, welcomed the campaign.

‘We’ve made it clear that Virginia hospitality extends to all visitors,’ said Ebbin.

‘We want LGBT people to enjoy all the great visitor experiences that our great state has to offer.’

A report from the University of California Los Angeles School of Law indicates the economy of neighboring North Carolina could lose nearly US$5 billion annually because of HB2, a bill that bans trans people from using public restrooms and prohibits local municipalities from enacting LGBTI-inclusive anti-discrimination measures.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has also announced earlier this month that it would no longer hold this season’s championship games in North Carolina because of the law. In response, Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam has urged the association to consider holding them in his state.

‘This administration is working every day to make sure that Virginia is open and inclusive,’ said Northam in a statement.

‘Our open for business approach, high quality of life, and world-class colleges and universities make Virginia an ideal destination for NCAA championships.’