Illinois Tourism Officials Make Pitch For Gay Travelers

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Now that Illinois allows civil unions for unmarried couples, and other states are allowing same-sex couples to get married, Illinois tourism officials are trying to market the state to the gay and lesbian community.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, a new portion of the state’s tourism Web site, called Pride Illinois, has collected information about gay-friendly lodging and attractions, as well as links to information about pride festivals and other LGBT resources.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

Illinois Office of Tourism director Jan Kostner says research indicates the LGBT community has disposable income.

“In a study conducted by OutNow Global, (LGBT) travelers spend an average of about $1,974 on leisure travel over the past year, and it’s a community that we want to know that they’re welcome,” she said.

Kostner says there is quite a bit of tourism information available that is specific to gay and lesbian travelers.

“There are some definite sights and things that people do that is non-specific to any interests that people would like to do, like the museums,” Kostner said. “But there are other things that may be specific, too. They’re also called TAG-approved accommodations throughout Illinois. There are properties that enforce their non-discrimination policies.”

Most of the events promoted on the front page of the site are in Chicago, but not all. The events include the Chicago Pride Fest – a lively street festival that takes place on Halsted Street in Boystown the day before the Gay Pride Parade – and Market Days, the August fair on Halsted Street that is billed as the largest two-day street fair in the Midwest.

The site also promotes Pride Day at Wrigley Field, a charitable event in early September in which the sale of Cubs tickets benefits six local LGBT and HIV/AIDS charities, and the Reeling Film Festival – the Chicago Lesbian and Gay International Film Festival held every September.

A downstate event also makes the front page. The Springfield Pride Festival – which features a “Drag Race” of the female impersonator variety – is held in May each year.

Also included on the page are information about civil unions, and links to gay rights organizations, publications and other information.

A California company called Community Marketing has set up some guidelines for approved LGBT-friendly businesses. A link to that information is also on the Pride Illinois site.

  • Peter Piper

    What the hell is the matter with these stupid tourism officials? Why would they want to attract a bad element to come here? Is making money that important? Let the sick puppy peter puffers go to San Francisco for vacation. We don’t want them here!!! (Repost#1)

    • Afro

      I agree thats all we need is more of hommo trouble making SOBs between them the blacks and the Politicians Illinoisans don’t have a chance

      • Lyndia

        If Illinois does not stand a chance, why don’t you leave? Nobody is begging you to stay. Dous all a favor, go to the Dakota’s Utah, Montana, Wyoming would be good too. Get away from people.

  • Scott

    we are ALREADY here fella

    • Peter Piper

      My point is, why try and attract more of you? It just makes no sense.

    • Lyndia

      Scott, that is what the dumb mf don’t understand. I feel like this: What two, grown, consenting, adults do in THEIR bedroom is not my business or anybody else.

  • JS

    Peter, it’s sad how ignorant you are. Why don’t you just worry about yourself.

    • Peter Piper

      Are you one of THEM, JS?

    • Lyndia

      JS, he is to damn dumb to do that.

  • Deer Hunter

    Hey Monitor do you know anything about the first amendment,I have filed a complaint against your comment board.

  • garbage country

    Illinois tourism officials are trying to market the state

    That’s the problem with the USA, mind on the money and not the people.

  • James

    Mind the gap. Mind your gap, especially if more gays come here.

  • ra

    All of u need to get a life or cut ur own throats and do us all a favor

    • Bill T.

      Wow, a statement like that surely needs some kind of explanation! Why would you make such an abusive statement? Please reply.

  • James

    hey ra-ra: follow your own advise.

  • State’s Pride Illinois tourism site misses area – LaSalle News Tribune | Trip By Trip

    […] CBS Local […]

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