Austin, Texas working to attract more LGBT tourists

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The city of Austin, Texas, is working on an initiative to draw in more LGBT tourists to what some call “The Live Music Capital of the World.”

On January 23, the Austin City Council approved a resolution in favor of the city manager office, the Austin Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (AGLCC), and the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau teaming up to promote the city as an LGBT-friendly destination.

Though Texas is unlikely to come up in lists of gay-friendly states, its capital is known for its desire to “Keep Austin Weird.” The travel site Gay Cities describes Austin’s gay scene as”well integrated throughout this tolerant and pretty city.” According to its overview of Austin, “The downtown warehouse district is the home to a number of gay bars and a few gay bars and clubs are sprinkled around town. The numerous universities (UT, ACC, St. Edwards, and Texas State University) and the city’s strong tech industry (Apple, Dell and Intel have offices here) make for a young vibrant crowd and it seems like there are people from everywhere here.”

Catering to the LGBT market can be very good for the travel business; according to Community Marketing Inc., every year LGBT tourists spend more than $70 billion in the United States alone, although specific numbers for Austin are currently unknown.

The president of the AGLCC, Jimmy Flannigan, said in a press release, “LGBT tourism represents a great opportunity for Austin — an opportunity that definitely has not been fully tapped. The AGLCC looks forward to collaborating with the Convention & Visitors Bureau and the city manager to grow LGBT tourism and create more economic opportunity for all of Austin.

“Growing LGBT tourism in Austin will require teamwork among a variety of local LGBT groups and leaders. National research on how LGBT people make travel decisions will help guide this initiative.”

The initiative will be looked at by the City Council again on March 28, when the office of the city manager will present a report on the LGBT tourism initiative’s status and progress so far.

429Magazine

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