Can DC Be Sexy?

Tourism officials in Washington, D.C. have come to the shocking conclusion that sex sells.

A new promotion from the normally buttoned-up city pokes gentle fun at the District’s reputation for pleated prudery while inviting visitors to experience a “Date Nights DC” over Valentine’s Day.

Selling the idea are some slick visuals — and an over the top video spot of a couple passionately kissing in the middle of a busy restaurant, to the surprise and apparent delight of other diners.

Notable for a bit of playful self-awareness so often missing in tourism board promotions, the campaign also prominently features same-sex couples.

The campaign, a partnership with the deal site LivingSocial, could be a shot in the arm for tourism to the normally stodgy city, Destination DC’s president and CEO Elliott Ferguson said recently, according to U.S. News and World Report.

A press release trumpeting the new initiative notes that Yahoo Travel ranked D.C. “one of the United States’ unexpectedly romantic cities.”

Other locals are more skeptical about the racy ads, U.S. News reports.

“D.C. will never be anything but the seat of the national government,” the director of George Washington University’s International Institute of Tourism Studies told the magazine’s Elizabeth Flock.

The ads were also reviewed skeptically by the local City Paper, which wrote, somewhat hilariously, “bones-jumping in a restaurant does nothing for local tax revenue.”

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