Friday, January 4, 2008

Response from Board of Directors of Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce

I received this email today:

"Thank you your inquiry to the Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce.
The Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce has not responded to AFA activities at this time.


Jeff Feldman
Greater Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce"


But really, can you blame them for not responding to such idiocy?


Fannie said...

That IS boring.

Arkansas traveler said...

Well,yes you can blame them actually for not responding in a positive manner to Jane--a prospective visitor--and assuring her that Eureka Springs is a diverse and welcoming community.

This is why our vibrant gay community does it's own PR.

Jane Know said...

I suspect (though I don't know for certain), that the Chamber of Commerce is more concerned with keeping its "religious money" (which is what they've gotten through tradition) than its "gay money."
So they aren't going to piss the AFA or other "religious" money-makers.

Arkansas traveler said...

You're right, Jane. Or, partly right. Beyond its entrenched homophobia, the Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce has to cater to the Passion Play (which has been running in the red for years) and the major hotels which have fed off the Passion Play. "Faith-based" businesses are closing. The church buses are now going to Branson, MO. Eureka Springs is in a state of transition as a resort town, much the way Key West was when the naval station closed and gays came in to resusitate the island, much the way GLBT folks have renovated entire urban neighborhoods. Gay money is pouring in here--in the form of upscale shops, charm-chocked B&Bs and bars. The top restaurants are gay owned.

This is a good market for gay folks looking to invest in business ventures--retail, lodging, dining and real estate.

So, while the Chamber of Commerce is mired in the past, the gay community is just getting on with thing. Our four Diversity Weekends, which draw thousands of gay and straight folks, is entirely privately financed and promoted (of course the "faith-based" businesses also benefit). And while we had widespread support for the Domestic Partnership Registery, the Chamber of Commerce kept quiet.

Fine. Nothing new. This is the way gay communities across the country have had to do things. The "establishment" will get on board sooner or later, after all the hard work has been done. When the religious fanatics are gone--and they are rapidly jumping ship--we'll still have a thriving resort community capable of catering to the needs of gay and straight travelers and residents.


Paul Jamieson said...
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