McAuliffe announces new task force to promote LGBT tourism

gay-equalityGovernor Terry McAuliffe kicked off the 2014 Virginia-1 (VA-1) Tourism Summit at the Hyatt Regency Reston today where he highlighted Virginia’s strength as a tourist destination and discussed ways tourism can contribute to Virginia’s economic growth and keep the Commonwealth competitive.

During the summit, Governor McAuliffe announced the creation of an lgbt Tourism Task Force that will focus on showcasing Virginia as an LGBT-friendly destination and maximizing the opportunity for growth in this new tourism sector.

“We’re unified by one common goal: to make Virginia a better place to live, work, play, and raise a family,”said Governor McAuliffe. “Tourism plays an important role in attaining that goal, building communities, and helping drive the new Virginia economy. We have an opportunity to build upon the progress Virginia made this year in achieving marriage equality and ensure that visitors across the globe know that the Commonwealth is open and welcoming to all. Not only will this task force focus on showcasing Virginia as an lgbt friendly destination, it will also work to maximize tourism growth in Virginia with all communities, nationally and internationally.”

The task force, led by Secretary Jones, will be comprised of industry stakeholders, lgbt community members and business leaders. The group will make recommendations on how to make Virginia even more welcoming to the lgbt community.

VA-1, the Commonwealth’s annual summit that focuses on ways to maximize Virginia’s tourism potential, had more than 400 people from all sectors of Virginia’s tourism industry in attendance this year.  The summit also aimed at identifying new and game changing ideas to stay competitive, leveraging new opportunities through networking and relationship building, and advancing Virginia’s prominence as a premier, global travel destination.  Breakout sessions included topics such as “The Power of Creative Communities,” “Building Major Music Festivals,” “Marketing Virginia Weddings” and “Eco Travel & Tourism.”

Also driving home the importance of tourism in Virginia, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones said, “Tourism has consistently proven to be a sound investment for Virginia. “It is an instant revenue generator, channeling millions of dollars into the Commonwealth’s coffers and into the revenue stream to local governments.”

Tourism is a $21.5 billion industry employing 213,000 Virginians statewide.

For more information on the VA-1 Tourism Summit, visit vatc.org/va1.

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. For more information, visit virginia.org.

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