Philadelphia portrayed as gay-friendly tourist spot

PHILADELPHIA: The Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus has kicked off a PR campaign designed to portray the city as a gay-friendly destination.

PHILADELPHIA: The Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus has kicked off a PR campaign designed to portray the city as a gay-friendly destination.

Part of an integrated marketing effort, the campaign will attempt to tap into a relatively affluent market, while remaining true to traditional, mainstream ways of marketing the City of Brotherly Love. That is, the campaign will focus more on its history, culture, and shopping than on its gay culture.

"We're not saying we're Miami Beach or Provincetown, or any of the gay resorts," said Bill Gehrman, a marketing director at the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureaus, and a member of the caucus. Instead, he said, Philadelphia will be pitched as a place where gays are accepted.

The PR effort is just gearing up with placements in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Passport, a gay travel magazine.

"We're leading with the mainstream press, and soon will begin to get into gay newspapers in feeder markers like New York and Washington, DC," explained Jeff Guaracino, director of regional marketing for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp.

The international push will include a media tour for German journalists in town this week for the Equality Forum, a gay-rights symposium.

The Gay Tourism Caucus began meeting in August and has grown to 30 members, including Guaracino. The group is now deciding on the price tags for various projects, and will soon begin to solicit financial aid from corporations and foundations.

The PR campaign began after consultation with tourism marketers who have taken similar approaches in cities like Fort Lauderdale,FL.

"In the past eight months, I cannot stress enough the importance of research and talking to other people in the arena," Guaracino said.

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