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July 1, 2013

NY courting gay tourists

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — "I Love NY LGBT," a website designed to promote gay-friendly tourism in the Empire State, went online late last week, according to a media release from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“New York has a proud history of welcoming the LGBT community, and whether you’re planning a weekend trip or a destination wedding, I encourage all to come explore the Empire State,” Cuomo said in the release, noting that the site's launch coincides with Pride Month. 

The campaign set up a booth at Sunday's Gay Pride festival in New York City to promote the new slogan. Many marchers in the Pride parade wore T-shirts bearing the "I Love NY LGBT" logo, which features a rainbow-colored heart in the familiar "I Love NY" logo. 

According to the release, the website is one of a number of initiatives that grew out of a statewide tourism summit held in May. 

“Many LGBT people, both in and out of state, simply aren’t aware that New York has an I Love Lucy museum, more ski slopes than Colorado, 250 wineries, the site where the women’s rights movement was born, one of the largest outlet shopping centers in the world, an annual festival celebrating the Wizard of Oz, a natural park larger than Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon combined, some of America’s best-rated beaches and so much more,” said Ross Levi, vice president of marketing initiatives for Empire State Development, and the former executive director of New York’s statewide LGBT civil rights organization. 

According to the release, the niche LGBT tourism segment accounts for approximately $70 billion in tourism spending in the U.S. every year.

The site, at iloveny.com/lgbt, provides information and suggestions to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers plan New York vacations, including a wedding guide for same-sex couples.