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Carl DeMaio looks to expand national marketing for San Diego LGBT Pride

SAN DIEGO -- Last week Councilmember Carl DeMaio made a request at the City Council meeting instructing the Tourism Marketing District, a non-profit organization that promotes tourism in San Diego, to partner with the San Diego LGBT Pride organization to study ways to enhance marketing and promotion strategies to bring in more out-of-town visitors for the annual Pride Parade and Festival.

The San Diego LGBT Pride Parade and Festival is one the largest civic events held in the City of San Diego and the largest LGBT event in the region. The festival generates millions of dollars for San Diego’s economy. The annual Pride Parade, by itself, is the city's largest civic event.

DeMaio said he felt that the partnership is a no-brainer.

“During a time when local businesses are still struggling, this is a perfect opportunity to promote and expand an already successful event to potentially bring in more visitors to San Diego to pump dollars into our economy,” DeMaio said.

Promoting the city to out-of-town guests will also be a benefit to San Diego.

“Every new out-of-town guest to San Diego Pride will not only spend money at our local businesses, but will likely stay in a hotel and pay the hotel tax which goes right into the city's budget," DeMaio said. "With a robust national marketing effort, San Diego Pride can also expand the kinds of programs and entertainment it offers during the Pride program."

Dwayne Crenshaw, executive director of San Diego Pride, welcomed the proposal.

"We greatly appreciate Councilmember DeMaio's leadership in calling attention to the importance of San Diego Pride to tourism and its significant impact on the local economy," Crenshaw said.

"Other cities across the nation provide tremendous public financial support and tourism marketing and promotion dollars to encourage the success of their Pride events. We look forward to working with the TMD, in keeping with DeMaio's request, to further grow and enhance San Diego Pride to the benefit of our hundreds of thousands of guests and San Diego's economy."

DeMaio said he will continue to push the Tourism Marketing District to work with the board and the community to find unique ways to promote the festival.

Ben Nicholls, executive director of Hillcrest Business Association, applauded the idea.

"The City and those who promote San Diego as a tourist destination should remember the importance and value of the LGBT vacationer," Nicholls said.

"Cultural tourism, including the LGBT culture, is a huge part of the the vacation market and I am encouraged that the City Council is starting to recognize that. Hillcrest's Pride Celebration should garner as much attention and support as other cultural events such as Comicon or the Del Mar Fair," he said.

San Diego City Councilmember Todd Gloria, who represents the district where the parade and festival is held, said through his spokesman that "both organizations should work together to build on their shared mission of bring more tourists to San Diego."

Katie Keach, deputy chief of staff for Gloria, said "Councilmember Gloria has always believed that San Diego Pride, as the largest civic event in our area, should receive support from the Tourism Marketing District."

This year's San Diego Pride festivities will take place July 20-22.

More information about San Diego Pride is available HERE.

As a matter of full disclosure, SDGLN Publisher Johnathan Hale has a personal relationship with Carl DeMaio. Their relationship in no way impacts the editorial decisions made by Ken Williams, SDGLN Editor in Chief, and does not influence our coverage. Williams can be reached at ken@sdgln.com, @KenSanDiego on Twitter or at (877) 727-5446, x713.