LGBTQ marketing campaign aims to increase tourist diversity

A new diversity initiative is taking root in Collier County, aiming to reach out to a wider variety of visitors.

Come next month, the ads you see from Collier’s tourism center are going to look a bit different. For a long time, the area was home to an older population, but that could soon change.

Jack Wert, executive director of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitor’s Bureau says diversity in the area is growing–and so is tourism.

“We have a lot of millennials traveling here. We see that more in our research that the LGBTQ community is the next step of being that much more welcoming to lots of different types of travelers.”

Same-sex couples will soon grace advertisements from Florida’s Paradise Coast — the official tourism website. Wert says this is the first step of a grassroots effort to attract more visitors to local restaurants, bars and beaches.

Currently, Bambusa is the only LGBTQ-friendly bar in Naples, but the bureau says the population is much larger than that and they hope the ad campaign will reflect these new efforts to spread diversity.

Cori Craciun, president of Naples Pride, says the bureau’s efforts are a good first step.

Naples even had its first ever Pride Fest last summer.

Craciun says bringing more diverse tourists to Naples is important–but she also hopes the community will remember to take care of the LGBTQ community that lives here full time.

Reporter:Olivia Mancino
Writer:Erica Brown
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