Philadelphia tourism leader Jeff Guaracino has died at 48

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Jeff Guaracino, Philadelphia tourism manager and LGBTQ advocate whose creative advertising campaigns have helped attract various groups of visitors to the city, has died at 48.

Guaracino, CEO of Visit Philadelphia, helped launch a series of eye-catching and bold tourist slogans such as “Philly’s more fun when you sleep over.” “

He died of cancer on Tuesday, the agency said in a statement.

Guaracino is the author of two books on gay travel marketing. In a 2018 interview with Philadelphia magazine, he said that a 2003 campaign targeting the gay community – with the slogan “Be clear about your gay history and nightlife” – was risky, but calculated.

“Philadelphia was already gay-friendly,” he said. “Philadelphia has had a reputation from the very beginning that everyone is welcome.”

Mayor Jim Kenney, in a statement Wednesday, said Guaracino left an “indelible mark” on Philadelphia.

“A fierce champion and promoter of his hometown, Jeff was also a proud advocate for the LGBTQ community. With his signature energy, charismatic charm and endless spirit, he helped make Philadelphia the welcoming city and the destination it proudly is today, ”said Kenney.

Guaracino had been running the travel agency since 2018, having worked within its communications team and led Wawa Welcome America Inc., which hosts the city’s July 4th celebrations. He also led the Atlantic City Alliance after Super Storm Sandy hit the Jersey Shore in 2012.

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