When the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau releases its official tourist map of Philadelphia this November, the area billed the “Gayborhood” will for the first time be demarcated.
Previously, the area was labeled “Midtown Village,” but will now carry both names.
The map is released twice a year, as both a stand-alone and along with the official visitor’s guide. About 300,000 stand-alone maps are produced, as well as 600,000 guides. The free materials can be found at local attractions and hotels.
The updated map will also be featured on the PCVB website.
The Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus led the effort to secure the label.
The Gayborhood is currently home to 72 rainbow street signs that let tourists and visitors alike know they’re in LGBT-friendly territory. However, PGTC vice president Tami Sortman said a number of visitors have complained that the signs aren’t serving their full purpose if non-natives can’t locate the Gayborhood to begin with.
“Right now, when people come into town, they often still don’t know where the Gayborhood is unless they see the signs when they get there,” Sortman said. “People love the idea of the signs but they don’t how to get to the ’hood. People need to know where the Gayborhood is located, so this map initiative is meant to work in tandem with the signage program.”
PCVB vice president of marketing and communications Danielle Cohn said the agency seeks to have its visitor guides correctly reflect the city.
“Our official maps have to be accurate,” she said. “There was a conversation between the president of the Midtown Village Association, Tami and Gloria [Casarez, the city’s director of LGBT affairs], and they came to a mutual agreement that the neighborhood should be called both and marketed together. There’s signage that states that this is the Gayborhood, as well as Midtown Village, so this is a way for there to be no disconnect for visitors.”
When the conversation to include the area on the map began, Sortman said PGTC could find no other cities that included a Gayborhood area on an official city visitor’s guide, although that research has not been brought fully up to date.
Cohn said PCVB, which used to produce the city’s Navigaytour, can use this opportunity to further demonstrate the city’s status as an LGBT-welcoming city.
“The LGBT community is an important one for conventions and for tourism,” Cohn said. “Philadelphia is certainly seen as a very gay-friendly city, and this is one small way that we can continue to show that.”