Autumn in Virginia Connects Unparalleled Experiences with Welcoming Businesses
By, Rita McClenny
It’s AUTUMN in Virginia! A favorite time of the year when so many vacationers leave their daily grind and make Virginia their home away from home. Virginia’s tourism industry and communities are excited and ready to host our adrenaline junkies, culinary explorers, front-row fanatics, foliage seekers and history buffs. This includes hosting LGBT families, couples and friends, and connecting them with authentic and welcoming businesses and experiences.
A reflection of this is a new way for visitors and locals hosting friends and family to find LGBT-inclusive businesses and experiences — Unite Virginia’s Q pages! Virginia’s creative and diverse economy has always included LGBT-owned and friendly business owners and staff working hard to provide unique products, memorable experiences and exemplary customer service. Q pages is a welcomed addition to the tourism family and strengthens Virginia’s network of organizations and businesses focused on inclusive and LGBT-friendly travel.
Tourism represents Virginia’s top industries, generating $23 billion in visitor spending, supporting 222,000 jobs and adding $1.6 billion in state and local revenue in 2015. This includes travel for leisure, business, sports, military, wedding, educational, religious and fraternal group travel. Q pages and Unite Virginia assist in maximizing Virginia’s tourism potential by sharing the personalities, stories, locations and experiences with all travelers of like-minded interests in all aspect of life, culture and adventure.
Making this connection is also an important business decision. LGBT travelers vacation more often, stay longer and spend more money on travel in the U.S., an estimated $57 billion. LGBT consumers make up 5-10% of the U.S. market, and the overall LGBT spending power in the U.S. is estimated to be worth $917 billion, according to the latest, annual analysis by Arlington, Virginia LGBT marketing firm Witeck Communications. Another reason Q pages and Unite Virginia are so important is that articles on LGBT websites and in print magazines have the most influence in research and making destination selections by LGBT travelers. Combined with the family and friends who are not LGBT, and may travel with LGBT vacationers or want to independently support LGBT-inclusive businesses, this spending grows even larger.
Connecting people with the Virginia experiences they LOVE (insert rainbow heart picture here) with the businesses who can supply that experience is what Virginia Tourism is all about. Unite Virginia and Q pages are valued partners in making that important connection. Enjoy your autumn, and start planning your next vacation at www.Virginia.org!
Congratulations to the team at Q Virginia for producing another fantastic issue!