FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A new tourism campaign in Broward County is attempting to distance itself from recent controversial policies on LGBTQ issues in Florida that have drawn national attention.
Visit Lauderdale released a campaign titled "We Are" which seeks to attract people from all backgrounds to the area.
"We are respectful of everyone. We are champions of diversity. We are advocates of change," the video ad says. "We are welcoming everyone with open minds and open hearts. We are gay. We are truth. We are hope. We are pride. We are greater Fort Lauderdale. And we are welcoming everyone under the sun."
The campaign hopes to let visitors to Florida know that the Sunshine State still celebrates diversity despite the contentious "Parental Rights In Education" law — what critics have dubbed "Don't Say Gay."
WATCH THE TOURISM AD BELOW:
"Visitors to Greater Fort Lauderdale can be assured they are in a place where diversity, inclusion and acceptance is actively championed as an established way of life that is fully ingrained throughout our community," said Stacy Ritter, president and CEO of Visit Lauderdale. "The Visit Lauderdale slogan, 'Everyone Under the Sun,' reflects the open and welcoming nature of our community, and when we say, 'Everyone Under the Sun', we mean it."
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted earlier this month to forbid any taxpayer-funded business-related travel to the Sunshine State over the "Don't Say Gay" law.
"Travel transcends politics and decisions made at the state level do not always align with our mission, values, and community," Ritter said. "I think it's important we remind visitors from the leisure side and from the group side that we are a diverse community."
Ritter also said the ad is intended to counter any backlash, including cautious words they received from the American Society of Association Executives.
"While they weren't calling for a boycott of Florida, with respect to groups conventions and conferences, they were concerned about the lack of embracing diversity and inclusion," Ritter said.
In Palm Beach County, where efforts have been made to put pride colors on a county bus, tourism officials have also said they are trying to assure that all groups are welcome.
"We have an ongoing effort in place to attract diverse visitors from all walks of life, and for us, it's about turning up the volume on that campaign right now," said Nick Parks, the vice president of marketing for Discover the Palm Beaches. "The Palm Beaches welcomes everyone, and our marketing efforts are designed to attract different walks of life and different demographics."