Atlanta Joins Cities Looking To Boost Gay Tourism

With an estimated $50 billion spent by gay men and lesbians on travel in 2005, Atlanta joins a list of other major cities looking to tap into this lucrative market.

Atlanta boosters are courting journalists from top gay and lesbian newspapers, in town for a special tourism-themed itinerary, including dinners at gay-owned and gay-friendly restaurants, meetings with local gay and lesbian entrepreneurs, and visits to neighborhoods with large gay populations.

"Nationally, gay men and lesbians spent an estimated $50 billion on travel last year, a number expected to continue to grow as more destinations around the world market to them, industry experts said. Gay travelers spend about $500 million annually in metro Atlanta, said Gregory Pierce, chief financial officer for the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau, which is leading Atlanta's effort to attract gay travelers."

"Atlanta is not alone in its outreach to gays. Marketing to the group has become increasingly competitive over the last few years, experts said. Many of the nation's major cities have launched initiatives to capture gay travel dollars, including Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Minneapolis, as well as leading longtime gay-friendly cities like San Francisco and New York."

"To further understand the value of gay travel, the Travel Industry Association of America, the nation's leading travel organization, announced last month it would partner with marketing firms Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications to conduct a comprehensive study to examine gays' travel preferences, attitudes and spending patterns, and contrast them with those of the population at large."

Full Story: Atlanta strengthens effort to boost gay tourism

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