Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Midwestern City Hopes to Draw in LGBT Tourism

(Link) Is P-Town Passe? Dinah Shore Tourney getting tired? Bloomington, Indiana hopes to be the new hotness for your queer tourism needs. Say it, baby... Hoosier mama?


LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
By Kris Kirschner
KTHR-13 News

Bloomington, October 10, 2005 - For towns hoping to cash in on tourists, the goal is to set themselves apart from the competition. Bloomington is looking for a niche in the travel industry.

It is launching a new campaign to promote itself as a destination for a specific type of visitor.

Indiana University has rolling hills and downtown charm. There are plenty of reasons to visit Bloomington.

But it's what you can't see that has given tourism insiders an idea to bring more travelers to southern Indiana.

"If we have such a heavy population that's enjoying living here, why not target that group to come visit here," asked Rob DeCleene of Bloomington's Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Bloomington prides itself on welcoming diversity.

Now the Convention and Visitor's Bureau is one of the first in the country to target the gay and lesbian traveler. "They tend to travel more," DeCleene explained. "They have more of a discretionary income."

On its website, the bureau highlights Bloomington's gay-friendly atmosphere, from an annual film festival to the popular Kinsey Institute.

"There are a lot of gay businesses here," said Helen Harrell, who host's the only gay issues radio show in the state. "Just that attitude, that accepting philosophy, has made it a welcoming community."

Bloomington is one of only a handful of cities in the Midwest that covers sexual orientation in its human rights ordinance. And according to census figures, it has the fifth-largest population per capita of same-sex couples.

But in recent years, even this "progressive" community has had its share of intolerance, what federal investigators labeled "hate crimes," spray painted in graffitti on church walls and in the form of a fire at a Bloomington mosque.

Harrell said, "There's always somebody (that's going to be) hurtful."

Bloomington hopes to sell itself as a safe, accepting community so it can attract a wider range of visitors to southern Indiana.

The practical side of the new marketing campaign is that travel statistics show gay tourists on the average have more discretionary income and are loyal to travel destinations.

Bloomington hopes to attract visitors from major cities and plans to broaden its campaign to conventions next year.

PInkPurlGrrl said...

"Hoosier mama" - oh geeze I think I just peed myself.

LNewsEditor said...

Where the heck have you been, Pink? I've missed your witty commentary! (Btw, you don't have to register anymore to comment here, thanks to the amazing anti-spambot Word Verification machine.)

Elaine said...

Promise I'll do better. It's been really busy of late, after the election things should settle back down.

LNewsEditor said...

Argh! Don't get me started on that election thing. Just moved here, got mah lil voter registration card and then received a postcard telling me I couldn't vote in this one. So, like a petulant child, I tossed the Voter Guide away.
P.S. Love yer page -- and the Gefelted Fish!