Friday, May 25, 2012

Complicated Issue Sheds Light on Durham

North Carolina recently joined 30 other states in passing an amendment to its state constitution that brought it national attention.  So called Amendment One limited the scope of what will be legally recognized as a marriage in North Carolina.  To put it lightly, the vote and all the activity leading up to it were nothing in comparison to the aftermath - the blow-back against NC has been swift, consistent, and harsh.

Durham, however, has shined a bit more brightly in the ensuing days.  An article by gay travel writer Troy Petenbrink ran on The Edge network of websites nationwide, Metro Weekly in Washington DC, and on that used Durham as an example of places that were not defined by their surrounding areas.  Yes, NC as a whole approved Amendment One, but Durham overwhelmingly rebuked it with 70% of votes cast here against the measure.  In contrast, the overall vote was 61% in favor with the bulk of NC's rural counties in support and, predictably, the more metropolitan locales voting to defeat.

Petenbrink's article showcases Durham as the open and accepting place that it is within a larger destination that is no less beautiful, but now being challenged as a visitor destination by negative sentiment.  As Petenbrink suggests, visitors should not judge cities by the states where they are located.

"It's complicated," says Sam Poley, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.  "Durham enjoys a lot of the attractiveness and charm bestowed by the fact that we are in the heart of a beautiful state, but socially, Durham really is rather different than anywhere else in NC," he added.

Durham is arguably one of the most diverse places in the US with no racial majority, representation from nearly all points on the socioeconomic spectrum and, as a result of its two universities, five hospitals, and the Research Triangle Park, residents from more than 100 countries calling the place home.

Durham has a wealth of things that make it an attractive visitor destination for everyone.  It is home to a vibrant arts and music community with one of the nation's busiest theaters, incredible sports including a world-renowned baseball team, internationally recognized and acclaimed food, both metropolitan and nature amenities, and more.

DCVB President and CEO Shelly Green stated, "Not surprising, immediately after the vote, quite a few potential visitors to the state threatened a boycott of North Carolina because of the result of the election.  This is why in the immediate aftermath, DCVB stepped forward and publicly encouraged travelers to make decisions about North Carolina based on the natural scenic beauty, dynamic cities and cultural amenities of North Carolina, and not on the divided political views of its population."

Information about visiting Durham is available on the web.

No comments:

Post a Comment