Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Tempe - the new gay destination?

According to the Arizona State University website, the city of Tempe has launched a campaign to attract gay travelers and to portray the town as a "destination" for GLBT folks. It seems that the frequency of visitors bureaus announcing such initiatives is growing.

Here's a highlight:

The city's Convention and Visitors Bureau recently launched a separate Web
portal specifically geared to gays and lesbians, said Toni Smith, communications
manager for the bureau. The site, launched in late December, features a
rainbow-colored flower and contains information on activities and places to
visit in Tempe, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and
questioning-oriented events.

The bureau will also bring editors and writers from several gay travel publications, including the Gay and Lesbian Times and Instinct Magazine, to the city, Smith added. The goal is to convince these writers to publish articles about Tempe in their magazines.

Big D seeks Big G Dollars

Another major US city, this time Dallas, has joined the trend to attract GLBT visitors to its city. Dallas has launched a website geared specifically towards queer travelers.

Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau Launches a New Website for Gay

DALLAS, Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau
(CVB) is reaching out to minority travelers by launching a new website (
http://www.glbtdallas.com ). The website stands to be one of the
most comprehensive CVB sites focused solely on gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender (GLBT) travelers.

"The Dallas CVB has created this site to speak directly to the interests of GLBT travelers," said Phillip Jones, president & CEO, Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau. "It's an approach that underscores our city's accepting, gay-friendly environment. We understand that the GLBT traveler wants to know if they are going to a place that welcomes them unconditionally, and this website is our city's answer. Yes."

The website features pages of content tailored for gay travelers. It lists special events
and nightlife along with a growing number of gay-friendly accommodations, restaurants, art museums and cultural venues.

"Oak Lawn, our GLBT neighborhood, is out, proud, always bustling and full of things to do. Our city has the sixth largest gay population in the United States, and we score the
highest among the nation's 10 largest cities based on the gay index," said Ross
Crusemann, senior vice president of marketing, Dallas Convention & Visitors
Bureau. The gay index is a study published by Gary Gates, a demographer at the
Urban Institute.

Dallas offers a multitude of attractions and activities that appeal to many different tastes. Each year, 25,000 people gather to celebrate the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. The parade is part of a weekend celebration in mid-September that includes Gay Day at Six Flags. Other notable events include the Dallas-Fort Worth Black Tie Dinner, State Fair of Texas Gay Day, Out Takes Dallas Film Festival and AIDS Arms Life Walk -- 5K Walk and Run.

Dallas is a destination that inspires big ideas and promises many memorable
experiences. This richly diverse city is home to some of the best shopping in
America, one of the largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender populations,
over 6,500 dining options -- more per capita than New York City, and outstanding
performing and visual arts in the largest urban arts district in the nation.

Dallas is an authentic, sophisticated and distinctive getaway. For additional
GLBT visitor information, please visit
http://www.glbtdallas.com .

Live Large. Think Big.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Best Places to Work - Gay Edition

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released a new report that outlines the "best places to work" for GLBT job-seekers and employees. Here's their official release:


Whole Foods Market Most Recent Addition to List of More Than 100 Companies with Perfect Scores on Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index

‘From stocking shelves to managing money to assembling an automobile, job seekers in almost any field can find a fair-minded employer,’ said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign Foundation today released Best Places to Work for GLBT Equality, a new online resource that gives job seekers the information they need to find out which employers support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender employees and consumers.

“From stocking shelves to managing money to assembling an automobile, job seekers in almost any field can find a fair-minded employer,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “Best Places to Work lets gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender job seekers know which companies to put at the top of their list.”

The list of more than 100 companies is based on data from the HRC Foundation’s 2005 Corporate Equality Index, an annual report card on corporate America’s treatment of GLBT employees, consumers and investors. Corporations are rated on a scale from zero to 100 on key criteria, including protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, parity of health care benefits for domestic partners and other criteria.

“More and more companies understand that employees should have access to the same policies and protections regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” added Solmonese. “The Human Rights Campaign’s workplace advocacy has pushed the bar higher and corporate America is rising to the challenge.”

More than 100 companies reached perfect scores this year, with Whole Foods Market being the most recent addition to the list and only supermarket chain to score 100 percent.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Fort Lauderdale - Sunny for Gay Money

Fort Lauderdale has been pouring lots of money into marketing efforts to lure GLBT travelers to their sunny shores. Their efforts include a comprehensive (and quite amazing) website exclusively targeting gay travelers. The site (www.sunny.org) includes information on hotels, special events, contests and a blog -- and the site is available in English, French, Spanish and German.

They're also tying events that wouldn't traditionally be considered "gay" into the campaign, such as their Museum of Art's King Tut exhibit ("The Original King of Bling") with website ads on PlanetOut and the like.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

USA Today: Arizona cities market to gay tourists

An interested article from today's USA Today:

Arizona cities try and lure gay tourists

PHOENIX (AP) — Conservatives may be working to add a gay marriage ban on the ballot, but Arizona cities are working to welcome more gay tourists into the state.

The cities are vying for a slice of an estimated $65 billion gay travel market. To do that, cities are marketing the area as a cosmopolitan, tolerant place to vacation.

"My money spends like anyone else's," said Albuquerque resident Andee Henderson, 38, who was among the estimated crowd of 5,000 attending the Arizona Gay Rodeo Association's annual competition at Rawhide over the weekend.

With an 89-page visitors and relocation guide published by the Phoenix gay chamber of commerce flying off the shelves, Phoenix leaders are planing to discuss ways to strengthen the city's gay tourism plan.

Officials in Tucson, Sedona, Bisbee and Jerome say they informally angle for those visitors.
Tempe is in the midst of a sophisticated campaign to lure gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travelers. The campaign began three years ago with careful research, said Stephanie Nowack, president and chief executive of the Tempe Convention & Visitors Bureau. The city later joined industry groups, sent city employees to conferences, bought ads in gay publications and launched a Web portal for gay, lesbian and transgendered visitors.

"I come from Fort Lauderdale, and I like places like that, where it's OK if I have a boyfriend, to hold his hand," said Alan Stark, 43.

But not everyone supports cities courting the gay community.

Leo Godzich, president of the National Association of Marriage Enhancement, says the cities risk destroying the Grand Canyon State's family friendly reputation by trying to wrangle in gay tourists.

"Our tourism dollars should be spent on the bulk of the population, not 2% of the population," Godzich said.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sony's Gay Wilderness

According to 365Gay.com, Sony is the latest company to launch a division specifically catering to the gay & lesbian consumer.

Sony Does The Gay Twist
by Ed Welch, 365Gay.com Los Angeles Bureau
Posted: January 11, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Los Angeles, California) Sony Music sees a gay future for the music industry. The giant entertainment corporation announced on Tuesday that it is forming an LGBT music division with Wilderness Media & Entertainment.

Wilderness is run by Matt Farber the man who created Logo Television.

The new division will be called Music With A Twist and comes just days before Farber launches Twist Radio, a new syndicated weekly gay radio show.

The record label will feature a mix of gay artists and performers who have a wide gay appeal. It will also draw from Sony BMG's extensive talent pool of gay favorite performers. Sony also owns Columbia Records Group, Epic Records, Sony Nashville and Sony Urban Music.

Farber said that Music With A Twist will release a compilation CD in June to coincide with National Gay Pride Month. Other compilations will follow.

Twist radio will debut on Sunday in 7 markets.

It can be heard on 95.5 WPLJ in NYC, Star 98.7 in L.A., Alice 97.3 in San Francisco, Q100 FM in Atlanta, Kiss 106.1 in Seattle and Mixs 96.5 in Houston. The show also will be available on AOL Radio online.

The show will be an eclectic mix of music and talk Farber says.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Gays and Lesbians More Likely than Heterosexuals to Plan Next Vacation Overseas or in Major U.S. Cities, Survey Finds

Echelon Magazine's website posted an article about a recent study on the travel habits of gays and lesbians. Here's an excerpt:
New study by Harris Interactive and
Witeck-Combs Communications examines personal travel among gays and lesbians
ROCHESTER, N.Y., January 3, 2006,ˆ Gay and
lesbian adults are more likely than heterosexual adults to say that they plan to
spend their next vacations overseas according to a recent nationwide online
survey of U.S. adults conducted by Harris Interactive® in conjunction with
Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc.
Fourteen percent (14%) of gay and lesbian
adults say that for their next vacation, they are planning to travel to an
overseas destination, compared to seven percent of heterosexual adults. The
study also revealed that gays and lesbians were more likely to plan personal
travel to major cities in the United States, with 27 percent of those
respondents choosing major cities for their next vacation compared with 21
percent of heterosexual adults.
These are several highlights of a nationwide
online survey of 2,315 adults (ages 18 and over), of whom 678 are gay and
lesbian adults. The survey was conducted online between Nov. 15 and 22, 2005, by
Harris Interactive®, a worldwide market research and consulting firm, in
conjunction with Witeck-Combs Communications, Inc., a strategic public relations
and marketing communications firm with special expertise in the gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender (GLBT) market.
The study also demonstrates the appeal that
gay and lesbian cruises can have with this market. More than one in four
heterosexual adults (27 percent) say they‚ve taken a cruise on a mainstream
cruise line such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, etc., compared
to fewer than one in five gay and lesbian adults (18 percent). Yet 10 percent of
gay/lesbian adults say they have taken a specialty cruise aimed specifically at
gay/lesbian travelers." For several years, we have tracked the strong affinity
of the gay/lesbian market for travel, particularly for popular destinations at
home and overseas," said Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck Combs Communications. "With
fewer children, and somewhat higher discretionary income, lesbian and gay adults
consistently index higher than their heterosexual counterparts," added
James Quilty, vice president, Travel and
Tourism Research at Harris Interactive, states, "Travel suppliers and
intermediaries have become increasingly aware of the importance in tailoring
their products and services to meet the needs of gays and lesbians, a
significant travel segment."