Two comely men stare lovingly at each other while sitting on a dock overlooking a city skyline and a beautiful bay; a tagline above the men reads, "Our Treasure Are Yours: To Have and To Hold." That's the image created by Visit Tampa Bay, the nonprofit travel organization for Florida's Hillsborough County, and used on a set of advertisements that will, hopefully, debut shortly.
There's just one catch — while a judge ordered Florida lift its marriage equality ban on January 5, the state's arch-conservative governor and attorney general are fighting to keep it alive. An air of uncertainty hangs over that January 5 date.
But Tampa's travel officials are eager to promote their city as a haven for LGBT tourists, specifically same-sex newlyweds and honeymooners, and are hoping there's no last minute funny business.
"We've had this campaign ready for a while," Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, told TampaBay.com. Corrada's organization has already launched a microsite, ConquerWithPride.com, to promote Tampa to gay travelers.
The city itself has also worked to show itself off as a friendly destination for LGBT travelers and residents by starting a domestic partner registry two years ago. Whether the changes pay off, and Tampa can lure gay tourists away from destinations like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Key West, and even New Orleans, remains to be seen.