Exploring LGBT Issues in Strategic Communication with Theory and Research
Chapter 11: Who We Were Is Who We Are: Uses of History in Philadelphia’s LGBT Tourism Marketing
Many cities market themselves as tourism destinations for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, a community whose estimated economic impact through tourism in the United States was worth over US$65 billion in 2011 (Community Marketing, Inc., 2011). Starting in the mid-1990s, North American cities have focused on tourism, particularly LGBT tourism, as a method of strengthening their economies. Widespread LGBT-targeted tourism marketing coincides with an increase in LGBT visibility in media (Guaracino, 2007).
In the US, cities known as LGBT destinations are conventionally defined as gay resorts. Gay resorts have a history of being LGBT vacation locations, or locations of major annual parties, such as Palm Springs, Provincetown, Fire Island, or Key West (Waitt & Markwell, 2006, pp. 241–242). Gay meccas are historically important cities to the LGBT community, where major events occurred, such as the Stonewall Riots in New York, or places where LGBT folks have historically lived openly, such as San Francisco. Cities without the gay resort or gay mecca status, such as Philadelphia, also use notions of LGBT history to mark themselves as relevant to LGBT travelers. Although it may seem that history is an obvious selling feature, its presence in LGBT tourism is suspect. Whose history is being sold, and how do the city and the LGBT community come together with regard to a historical perspective or narrative?
LGBT political visibility in North America is commonly measured by its media representation. This case study...
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