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Is Cincinnati Prepared For LGBTQ Tourists?

Ambriehl Crutchfield
The panel was hosted at Union Hall in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood Friday.

Cincinnati is hoping to pull in more LGBTQ travelers.

The Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau is partnering with Cincinnati Pride to learn how the city can become more welcoming.

The Global Report on LGBTQ tourism says the economic impact of travelers will be more than $65 billion annually in the U.S.

Bureau Group Vice President Jason Dunn says it's about more than money. "As I look at tourism and how the Convention and Visitors Bureau looks at tourism, it is an opportunity, or platform, to empower communities." Dunn says it's important for the city to prepare for the projected increase of minority travelers.

A panel of national and local community members spoke on progress and improvements in the city.

Andy Garcia, director of the national LGBTQ conference Creating Change, says before choosing a host city he looks for law protections and how welcoming the community is. "Rather than going to places that feel safe where the work is already done," he says. "We want to go to places where there is work still to do."

Garcia says cities like Cincinnati set an example for the state in nondiscrimination law protections for LGBT people.

Credit Ambriehl Crutchfield / WVXU
Robin Wright wants to make sure all voices in the LGBTQ community are included in conversations about inclusivity.

Equity and Inclusion Consultant Robin Wright also was on the panel. Wright says most times white men's opinions are at the forefront of the LGBTQ conversation, so she came to push the conversation further by adding her perspective as a black queer woman. "I think we have started doing some good work (in) the city of Cincinnati with a lot of protections of LGBTQ folks and the government has been really good," she says. "I think there are some social cultural dynamics that the city has to make shifts on in terms of normalizing the presence of LGBTQ folks."

She says Cincinnati has more room to go grow to ensure travelers and residents across the LGBTQ spectrum feel like they are in an inclusive environment.