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The Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus Founded in November 2002, the Caucus filed in 2005 with the State of Pennsylvania to become an organized non-profit corporation. Bylaws were adopted November 17, 2005. The Caucus has submitted all appropriate paperwork for 501(c3) tax exemption status under the laws of The United States Government. Bylaws were ratified in November 2005, and elections were held for the first official Board of Directors. The Caucus became a membership-based organization to support the overall operating budget. In 2007, the Caucus has more than 75 business professionals who are members. The initial group was motivated by a desire to position Philadelphia and The Countryside into a top destination by gay and lesbian leisure travelers. Open to anyone, both gay and straight, the primary purpose of the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus is to bring together a group of people who were willing to share resources to collaborate on promoting Philadelphia as a gay-friendly destination. The Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus meets monthly in executive meetings and every other month conducts a public meeting. We value inclusiveness and diversity. The Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus has three simple principles: 1. anyone and everyone, gay or straight, is invited to participate in the effort 2. you must bring resources to the effort, whether it be human or financial 3. you must be willing to collaborate and partner with each other The Caucus has achieved many successes over the last five years: The Caucus created sub-committees to move its initiatives more efficiently: Membership, Research/Marketing, Public Relations, Hotel Packaging, Merchant Referral Program, Events, Liquor Initiative, Gay-sensitivity training and funding. The Caucus has partnered with the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), a private, non-profit tourism organization that has invested $1.3 million in tourism marketing towards the gay and lesbian traveler. GPTMC’s ground-breaking, award-winning campaign, “Philadelphia, Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay®” has demonstrated the economic impact of the gay traveler through three research studies, Gay Tourism 2003, Gay Tourism 2005 and a pioneering travel study by The Travel Industry of America in 2006. The Caucus has partnered with the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, a non- profit, membership-based organization, in the further development of an official GLBT Visitor Guide to Philadelphia & Its Countryside (This guide originally 14 pages has since become the 52-page Navigaytour, an advertising supported full-color brochure produced by the Altus Group). Created the Philadelphia Freedom hotel package sold via www.gophila.com/gay. There are currently 15 hotels in the region offering the package to GLBT visitors to the region. Through a strategic partnership with the Center City District (CCD) and Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the Caucus has produced two Merchant Referral Program guides (2005 and 2007) to direct visitors to gay-owned or gay-friendly businesses. In 2005, the Caucus began working with the City of Philadelphia on a “Gay-borhood Street Signage Program” to help visitors identify the concentration of Philadelphia gay life. The Gay-borhood signage will debut in March 2007. In early 2006, the Caucus embarked on a Liquor Initiative to explore possible funding from liquor distributors. There are currently over a dozen bar owners/operators reporting monthly liquor purchases to determine the Caucus’ negotiating power with the liquor branding companies to create a possible funding stream. In April 2006, the Caucus held a preliminary strategic planning session with PLACES (consulting arm of ww.travelplace.com) to determine key processes and forward direction of the organization (Staffing, Funding, Sales and Marketing, Event Development). In Spring 2006, the Caucus partnered with WHERE Magazine, Sofitel, Philadelphia Trolley Works, and Tavern on Camac conducting a tour of Gay Philadelphia for local hotel Concierges and Front Office employees. In Spring 2007, the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus debuted another first, a gay- sensitivity training program for hotels, businesses and local organizations.
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