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Communities pursue gay tourists

Posted September 3, 2008

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— Several communities in the Triangle are trying to attract more gay and lesbian visitors, saying they are an important segment of the tourism market.

"It is largely dual income, no kids. They have a higher propensity of travel," said Laurie Paolicelli, executive director of the Chapel Hill-Orange County Visitors Bureau. "In order to protect and grow our economy, we must look at new audiences for tourism."

Orange County plans to launch a major marketing effort targeting gays and lesbians, Paolicelli said, noting the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill no longer fills local hotel rooms because of the regional options for visitors to campus.

"I think college towns very much put out that progressive welcome, so it's a good match for us," she said.

Chapel Hill Councilman Mark Kleinschmidt helped make suggestions for a local Web site for gay and lesbian visitors. He said he researches communities when he travels with his partner, and he said information like that offered on the site attracts all types of visitors.

"I think it sends a message to everyone in our community that our community is one that is going to welcome them," Kleinschmidt said.

Durham's Convention and Visitors Bureau, which partnered with Chapel Hill in researching trends in gay and lesbian travel, takes a more subtle approach to its marketing.

"(We) represent Durham as it is, which is a destination that is very accepting, very engaging," said Shelly Green, chief operating officer of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau.

A spokeswoman for the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau said the agency also markets to the gay and lesbian community, especially for conventions and meetings.

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  • fletchermse Sep 4, 2008

    "You people in NC get so worked up about immigrants and gay folks. "

    Prejudice much?

  • dogluvr26 Sep 4, 2008

    Admiral, very interesting and extreme example--I'm gay and don't own anything leather beyond my shoes and belts and I don't plan to walk around with my junk hanging out any time soon--so this idea about gay people you seem to have is not even close to correct. Oh, but why is it that girls are allowed--even encouraged--to show their chests at Mardi Gras? Does that not count as indecent exposure? I'm pretty sure it does. And, for the record, I don't agree with either action--male or female.

    As for the "psychobabble" having no place in society, I'm afraid you've yet again had tunnel vision. Maybe you don't agree with it, but your personal opinion does not dictate what does and does not belong in society. People matter--gay or not.

    It would behoove you to step back for a second and look at how narrow minded you appear to be based upon your comments. If you're really not as bigoted and ignorant as you are coming across to be, you may want to change your blanket statements a bit

  • Angry White Trash Singer Sep 4, 2008

    "I have not seen a homosexual's rights infringed on in my life."

    Perhaps you should Google the name Matthew Shepard.

  • JeffersonDavis Sep 4, 2008

    ive spent the last three years in the pro-gay, pro-black, pro-communism, anti-gun, anti-christian, anti-white propoganda pool known as chapel hill and i can tell you first hand this is just getting out of control.

  • TheAdmiral Sep 4, 2008

    "All you dipsticks putting down the rednecks for wanting to protect their way of life are just as bad as the homophobes putting down the "gays".

    BTW NOT all homophobes are rednecks. As a matter of fact you would be surprised at how many homophobes live and work right next to you. Politically Honest NOT PC

    Excellent Comment.... Worth Repeating!" Atozca

    You know, I could not have said it better - that should win an award.

  • TheAdmiral Sep 4, 2008

    "Admiral...you are the most ignorant, arrogant, uninformed, narrow-minded, and bigoted person I may have ever encountered on here."

    Ok Mr Cynic - let's go for a round. First of all - it is not me who pitched the 1-10% societal homosexual pitch. That could only mean that 90-99% of the people are heterosexual.

    Second, with those numbers, why is anyone attempting to appease their sad attempt to make their lifestyle a LEGAL RIGHT by calling it a liberty? It is not. It is a lifestyle. People are POed that it keeps getting flaunted in their face any time they turn around because of people like this.

    I never said anything that would indicate that they are never welcome. I said that the psychobabble about how comfortable they are and pitch their family and friends coming out problems have no place in society.

    Nor do I think that walking around with leather pants with their junk hanging out is appropriate in society. It is called indecent exposure.

    So let's go.

  • Tracey1229 Sep 4, 2008

    or Like it TI is, maybe only the families who are open-minded will visit. and that is OK with me. That will only strengthen the community.

  • Dr. Dataclerk Sep 4, 2008

    Whatever floats your boat.

  • atozca Sep 4, 2008

    All you dipsticks putting down the rednecks for wanting to protect their way of life are just as bad as the homophobes putting down the "gays".

    BTW NOT all homophobes are rednecks. As a matter of fact you would be surprised at how many homophobes live and work right next to you.
    Politically Honest NOT PC

    Excellent Comment.... Worth Repeating!

  • rogerkneebend Sep 4, 2008

    tarheel alum,

    who cares?

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