CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Home to the state’s flagship public university, the Town of Chapel Hill has also become one of the most gay-friendly municipalities across the Tar Heel state. This month, city officials plan on showing event planners and media around the globe why they’re a best bet for LGBT travel.

September 24-27, the town will host a “familiarization tour and symposium” for the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. Attracting travel trade professionals including media and tour planners, planned events include cooking school at the kitchens of restaurant A Southern Season, a private reception at an antebellum home, a back porch musical concert and historic tours and chats with gay and lesbian elected officials and others.

“We are thrilled that Chapel Hill and North Carolina will be the site of an International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association Event,” Richard Brower, the strategic development and marketing manager of
International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), said in a release. “The itinerary is very unique and gives members of our association a new way to look at this dynamic state and college town area.”

Brower added, “The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau is pulling out the stops for this event.”

The Town of Chapel Hill and Orange County have been reaching out to the international gay and lesbian travel industry for some time. The area visitors bureau says it was a strategic decision.

“We want the gay traveling public to know that Chapel Hill is inclusive, welcoming and beautiful
year-round. We want more gay and lesbian travelers, families and business conferences to discover our unique role in the state,” said Laurie Paolicelli, executive director of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau.

The IGLTA events will coincide with the NC Pride Fest and Parade, schedule for Sept. 26 in nearby Durham.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.