Promoting Richmond’s Diversity to Visitors

Tourism in the Richmond region continues to grow at a fast pace. We’ve seen an explosion of culinary talent, the birth of the prolific and award-winning craft beverage scene, and tourism development from the ICA to the Capital Trail. All of this and more helps drive interest and visitors to RVA.

At Richmond Region Tourism, we believe that the Richmond Region is a welcoming destination for everyone, and we work toward sharing that message every day.

Ten years ago, Richmond Region Tourism partnered with a LGBTQ advisory committee to create a bold new campaign called OutRVA to position the region as welcoming and inclusive to LGBTQ travelers. The campaign has left a literal mark around Richmond now that hundreds of stores proudly display OutRVA stickers to highlight they are welcoming places for LGBTQ people.

Part of OutRVA’s appeal and success is its authenticity. The campaign leverages the experiences of LGBTQ residents. The website is home to the OutRVA “Insiders” who share their favorites experiences around the region.

Thanks to the campaign’s outreach, the region has been praised in LGBTQ-focused outlets like, Metro Weekly, Curve Magazine, Passport and more. Momentum from OutRVA has also helped the region attract events like the Sports Diversity Jubilee, a multi-sport tournament featuring LGBTQ+ athletes from across the nation and international quidditch tournaments (a sport known for championing diversity and inclusion). Most importantly, OutRVA has positioned Richmond as a welcoming destination for LGBTQ travelers.

Over the last couple of years, the Richmond Region Tourism partnered with community members focused on developing unique ways to attract tourism while highlighting Richmond’s Black culture.  The work led to the development of BLK RVA, which launched locally in August. The new tourism campaign highlights and celebrates the Black cultural experience in the Richmond region.

BLK RVA provides opportunities for residents and tourists to support Black-owned businesses through in-person patronage and online engagement, while telling important stories of the historical landmarks that make the Richmond Region what it is today.

Similar to OutRVA, we leaned into the experiences of Richmond’s residents to shape the campaign over a two-year period. We were also excited to work with local businesses to launch the initiative. Richmond-based creative agency Ryano Graphics provided the graphic and web design, videography and digital strategy to bring the campaign to life. 

It’s been exciting to see the energy BLK RVA has generated so far, and we can’t wait to help the campaign grow.

BLK RVA and OutRVA share a connection with Leadership Metro Richmond: Both of the campaign’s advisory committees have LMR graduates that are personifying LMR’s mission to strengthen the region through their support of the tourism campaigns.

Our team is always looking for opportunities to convene leaders and spark conversations about diversity and inclusion. Richmond Region Tourism will host a panel discussion on Oct. 15 from 9-10 a.m. at the Science Museum with local experts to discuss disability etiquette and accessible design in the hospitality industry. If you’re interested in attending and learning how we can make Richmond more welcoming to visitors of all abilities, email Valerie Knorr on our team at

Tourism makes our community better. It improves the quality of life for our residents by stimulating the economy and generating jobs. Tourism also supports the restaurants, attractions and shops that we all love to support and frequent.

Richmond’s diversity is one of our best assets. The Richmond Region Tourism team is committed to celebrating that diversity and welcoming all visitors.

Katherine O’Donnell
Executive Vice President, Richmond Region Tourism
Class of 2016