The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau works each year to make Philadelphia a top destination for conventions, conferences and other large economy-stimulating events — including those that cater to LGBT audiences, an effort that will now be undertaken by a tourism professional with experience in attracting diverse visitors to the area.
“I’m really excited to be back in this market and to have the chance to partner with the LGBT community to showcase what Philadelphia can do,” said Nicole Bertrand, the PCVB’s National Accounts Manager, who will now head the organization’s efforts to draw in multicultural visitors.
Although she’s a native of St. Thomas, Bertrand is familiar with Philly, as she has family in Moorestown, N.J. She moved to the area permanently in 2001 and began working for the Pennsylvania Convention Center before moving on to the Philadelphia Marriot Downtown in 2004.
She moved to the PCVB in April of last year, focusing on attracting business from New York and Northern New Jersey. Marion Joy, who headed the PCVB’s multicultural effort for three years, was laid off recently due to budget cuts, and Bertrand assumed her responsibilities earlier this month.
Returning to the multicultural arena has been a “reunion” of sorts for Bertrand, one she said she’s eager to embrace.
“Philadelphia is probably one of the most diverse cities in the country — from religion to sexual orientation to really just every aspect,” she said.
The LGBT community, in particular, is one to which she said Philadelphia is an easy sell.
“Just looking at the Gayborhood, that’s great marketing right there,” Bertrand said. “The fact that we have this very distinct neighborhood that focuses on bringing businesses together and helping to cultivate this community is outstanding.”
Bertrand joined the board of the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus and plans to work with that agency to determine ways to draw new LGBT business to the city.
Just recently, the PCVB received the finalized contract between the Loews Hotel and the International Association of Gay/Lesbian Country Western Dance Clubs for their annual convention this May.
“That’s a huge win because it brings us even one step further to getting the word out about our city,” she said. “If you get one convention in and they have a great experience, then they tell other people and that just keeps us going.”