4.14 Sustainability & Effective Communication: Representation Matters Feature

Through this feature, you will have the opportunity to be inspired by the initiatives of different DMOs that have communicated effectively in regards to diversity and inclusivity.

You'll be able to learn more about Visit Gay Osaka, Japan’s first DMO-led LGBTQ marketing and tourism initiative; and Visit Philadelphia's communication of their authenticity and the essence of their destination.

You'll be able to learn more about Visit Gay Osaka, Japan’s first DMO-led LGBTQ marketing and tourism initiative; and Visit Philadelphia's communication of their authenticity and the essence of their destination.

Key Takeaways:

  • Collaboration between multiple stakeholders encourages supporting the community in different sectors and becoming a supportive destination as a whole.
  • Communicate how relevant tourism is and how hospitality and the visitor economy is a jobs creation sector. Responding to this, you can think of creating a job section for anyone working in the hospitality sector.
  • Showing support should expand beyond special dates and be expressed year-round.

Developing DMO-Led LGTBQ Initiatives

Jonathan, MICE Promotions Specialist at Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau, presents Visit Gay Osaka, Japan’s first DMO-led LGBTQ marketing and tourism initiative.

Osaka is the 2nd largest metropolitan city in Japan. It is just 3 hours away from Tokyo and has been recognised as the 2nd most liveable city in the country. Osaka has a rich culture and is known for history, arts, water views & cruises and friendly locals. It is also named the nation’s kitchen for its food.

Jonathan explained that the Osaka Convention & Bureau works on different aspects of tourism that Osaka offers, including LGBTQ initiatives. In Japan, same-sex marriage is not legal. However, municipalities offer partnership certificates that allow the community civil rights. Today, over 2000 couples in Japan have the certificate, of which nearly 500 are in Osaka. So in that sense, Japan supports LGBTQ rights and protection.

Jonathan explained multiple aspects including marketing, community demographics and travellers’ statistics. LGBTQ marketing means ensuring products and destinations are safe for and appropriate for the LGBTQ community and for business. It is not limited to Pride month and should be supported all year round. He added that, as a destination, being a hotspot is not as important as being LGBTQ supportive.

Thinking about the LGBTQ community, Jonathan mentioned that in the US, for example, 77% have passports, 50% are homeowners, and 90% are vaccinated. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge the demographic attributes of the community and travellers.

Osaka, as a destination, offers many gay bars and other LGBTQ spots. It is friendly and has welcoming locals. There is no discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Osaka has run many marketing initiatives. In 2018, they became a member of IGLTA (International LGBTQ+ Travel Association). The following year they launched the first LGBTQ family trips. In 2021, they hosted the LGBTQ tourism conference in Osaka with other stakeholders, such as Japan Airlines, and launched Visit Gay Osaka's Facebook page.

They offer a range of LGBTQ experiences that range from drag queen packages and tours, to Udon noodle making make up experiences. The infrastructure for LGBTQ tourism is developing, especially through partnerships with Nintendo World, Nakonashimo Museum of Art, IGLTA global and World Expo 2025 Osaka.

As a DMO, they run sensitivity training to inform about LGBTQ, marketing methods, and travellers' needs. They also hire individuals for mystery shopping surveying to experience accommodations that have received the sensitivity training. Approved accommodations get listed on Visit Gay Osaka.

This reinforces the importance of communicating to all the segments of the market that we might be interested in attracting, allowing them to feel welcomed and safe within our destination.

Communicating The Destination's Essence

Rachel Ferguson, Chief Innovation & Global Diversity Officer, opens up by explaining that in the year up to the pandemic, Visit Philadelphia had just celebrated the tenth consecutive year of growth with over $7bn in spending, supporting more than 100,000 jobs.

They had huge plans, new initiatives, summer ad campaigns, hotel packages and even launched a new radio station and a year-long sisterly love campaign. But with all those milestones, 2020 brought with it different milestones. Philadelphia has been dealt a blow of a different kind, going from the health pandemic, economic devastation, diversity, equity and inclusion crisis.

They knew that they needed to address these issues, that they couldn't carry on without changing. With a platform and a voice, they had to use it to master the art of a meaningful pivot. The art that they had to use this year was more than they could ever imagine.

Starting with health. Visit Philadelphia started by thanking healthcare workers on all outdoor media everywhere. What makes Philadelphia special is the spirit and its people. This was about thanking essential workers, not taking credit for the thanks. Most messages didn't even carry the Visit Philadelphia branding.

We learn that sometimes we need to adapt, sometimes we need to completely pivot and sometimes we need to stop and listen.

The reality is that more than half of the industry now finds itself out of work. Responding to this, they launched a jobs section for anyone working in the hospitality sector. They communicated that hospitality and the visitor economy is a jobs creation sector. Cash strapped and struggling, there was the reminder that recovery starts at home and so attention turned to supporting the local economy, encouraging locals to discover or re-discover the many things that make Philadelphia special, with more than 5M impressions since the campaign launched. They've since launched an influencer component to this, to communicate that locals can have an authentic and fun experience, without travelling far, triggering motivation to have an amazing experience in the destination.

Showing examples of how influencers have played a role in revitalising local discovery, Rachel points to the example of a local influencer who takes people on a tour of the city as part of a series #OurTurnToTourist.

With a completely different take on the city, Rachel explains how they linked sports mascots with local pride and discovery, to show people that there's a fun, clean and safe way to explore the city around game days.

Visit Philadelphia also decided to confront the issues of today and address the injustices highlighted by Black Lives Matter. With the belief that Philadelphia grows through its diversity, they decided to take a stand by creating web content and providing tools to help travellers support black and brown owned businesses. This continues to be a priority for Visit Philadelphia, making a statement with their media and brand assets and driving campaigns to directly increase footfall to black and brown owned businesses. They continue to work hard to raise awareness and use media, such as the podcast Love + Grit, which gives a voice to issues, and stories - the lovely and the gritty, through the people who live and breathe the city.

Talking about Love + Grit, Rachel explains that the podcast is specifically for black and brown travellers. It's authentic, engaging and rich in the diversity of its subject matter. This is an example of a strategic pivot born out of the pandemic.

You'll be able to learn more about Visit Gay Osaka, Japan’s first DMO-led LGBTQ marketing and tourism initiative; and Visit Philadelphia's communication of their authenticity and the essence of their destination.

You'll be able to learn more about Visit Gay Osaka, Japan’s first DMO-led LGBTQ marketing and tourism initiative; and Visit Philadelphia's communication of their authenticity and the essence of their destination.

Key Takeaways:

  • Collaboration between multiple stakeholders encourages supporting the community in different sectors and becoming a supportive destination as a whole.
  • Communicate how relevant tourism is and how hospitality and the visitor economy is a jobs creation sector. Responding to this, you can think of creating a job section for anyone working in the hospitality sector.
  • Showing support should expand beyond special dates and be expressed year-round.

Developing DMO-Led LGTBQ Initiatives

Jonathan, MICE Promotions Specialist at Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau, presents Visit Gay Osaka, Japan’s first DMO-led LGBTQ marketing and tourism initiative.

Osaka is the 2nd largest metropolitan city in Japan. It is just 3 hours away from Tokyo and has been recognised as the 2nd most liveable city in the country. Osaka has a rich culture and is known for history, arts, water views & cruises and friendly locals. It is also named the nation’s kitchen for its food.

Jonathan explained that the Osaka Convention & Bureau works on different aspects of tourism that Osaka offers, including LGBTQ initiatives. In Japan, same-sex marriage is not legal. However, municipalities offer partnership certificates that allow the community civil rights. Today, over 2000 couples in Japan have the certificate, of which nearly 500 are in Osaka. So in that sense, Japan supports LGBTQ rights and protection.

Jonathan explained multiple aspects including marketing, community demographics and travellers’ statistics. LGBTQ marketing means ensuring products and destinations are safe for and appropriate for the LGBTQ community and for business. It is not limited to Pride month and should be supported all year round. He added that, as a destination, being a hotspot is not as important as being LGBTQ supportive.

Thinking about the LGBTQ community, Jonathan mentioned that in the US, for example, 77% have passports, 50% are homeowners, and 90% are vaccinated. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge the demographic attributes of the community and travellers.

Osaka, as a destination, offers many gay bars and other LGBTQ spots. It is friendly and has welcoming locals. There is no discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Osaka has run many marketing initiatives. In 2018, they became a member of IGLTA (International LGBTQ+ Travel Association). The following year they launched the first LGBTQ family trips. In 2021, they hosted the LGBTQ tourism conference in Osaka with other stakeholders, such as Japan Airlines, and launched Visit Gay Osaka's Facebook page.

They offer a range of LGBTQ experiences that range from drag queen packages and tours, to Udon noodle making make up experiences. The infrastructure for LGBTQ tourism is developing, especially through partnerships with Nintendo World, Nakonashimo Museum of Art, IGLTA global and World Expo 2025 Osaka.

As a DMO, they run sensitivity training to inform about LGBTQ, marketing methods, and travellers' needs. They also hire individuals for mystery shopping surveying to experience accommodations that have received the sensitivity training. Approved accommodations get listed on Visit Gay Osaka.

This reinforces the importance of communicating to all the segments of the market that we might be interested in attracting, allowing them to feel welcomed and safe within our destination.

Communicating The Destination's Essence

Rachel Ferguson, Chief Innovation & Global Diversity Officer, opens up by explaining that in the year up to the pandemic, Visit Philadelphia had just celebrated the tenth consecutive year of growth with over $7bn in spending, supporting more than 100,000 jobs.

They had huge plans, new initiatives, summer ad campaigns, hotel packages and even launched a new radio station and a year-long sisterly love campaign. But with all those milestones, 2020 brought with it different milestones. Philadelphia has been dealt a blow of a different kind, going from the health pandemic, economic devastation, diversity, equity and inclusion crisis.

They knew that they needed to address these issues, that they couldn't carry on without changing. With a platform and a voice, they had to use it to master the art of a meaningful pivot. The art that they had to use this year was more than they could ever imagine.

Starting with health. Visit Philadelphia started by thanking healthcare workers on all outdoor media everywhere. What makes Philadelphia special is the spirit and its people. This was about thanking essential workers, not taking credit for the thanks. Most messages didn't even carry the Visit Philadelphia branding.

We learn that sometimes we need to adapt, sometimes we need to completely pivot and sometimes we need to stop and listen.

The reality is that more than half of the industry now finds itself out of work. Responding to this, they launched a jobs section for anyone working in the hospitality sector. They communicated that hospitality and the visitor economy is a jobs creation sector. Cash strapped and struggling, there was the reminder that recovery starts at home and so attention turned to supporting the local economy, encouraging locals to discover or re-discover the many things that make Philadelphia special, with more than 5M impressions since the campaign launched. They've since launched an influencer component to this, to communicate that locals can have an authentic and fun experience, without travelling far, triggering motivation to have an amazing experience in the destination.

Showing examples of how influencers have played a role in revitalising local discovery, Rachel points to the example of a local influencer who takes people on a tour of the city as part of a series #OurTurnToTourist.

With a completely different take on the city, Rachel explains how they linked sports mascots with local pride and discovery, to show people that there's a fun, clean and safe way to explore the city around game days.

Visit Philadelphia also decided to confront the issues of today and address the injustices highlighted by Black Lives Matter. With the belief that Philadelphia grows through its diversity, they decided to take a stand by creating web content and providing tools to help travellers support black and brown owned businesses. This continues to be a priority for Visit Philadelphia, making a statement with their media and brand assets and driving campaigns to directly increase footfall to black and brown owned businesses. They continue to work hard to raise awareness and use media, such as the podcast Love + Grit, which gives a voice to issues, and stories - the lovely and the gritty, through the people who live and breathe the city.

Talking about Love + Grit, Rachel explains that the podcast is specifically for black and brown travellers. It's authentic, engaging and rich in the diversity of its subject matter. This is an example of a strategic pivot born out of the pandemic.