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Vancouver top leisure destination for US queers

Survey highlights Vancouver for third year running

Vancouver has been named Canada’s number-one queer leisure destination among US travellers for the third year in a row by a San Francisco-based tourism study.

Community Marketing, Inc surveyed 4,000 people about their travel patterns and found Vancouver rated second only to the United Kingdom for overnight visits in the past year.

Toronto ranked as the top business travel destination, almost tied for total votes with Vancouver, while Montreal also placed strongly.

Moreover, Vancouver rated ahead of France, Cancun and the Netherlands.

The results are based on years of effective marketing of Vancouver to queer travellers, says Community Marketing’s senior projects director David Paisley.

“Vancouver is a city that has been doing it right for many years when it comes to LGBT travel marketing,” Paisley says.

“Canada, with its freedom to marry, gay-welcoming cities, and the return of a favorable exchange rate, is increasingly loved and admired among LGBT American consumers,” he continues.

Tourism Vancouver’s manager of consumer marketing and the pilot of the organization’s LGBT marketing initiatives, says they’ve worked hard to put Vancouver on the map for queer travellers.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be named Canada’s top destination for the third year in a row,” says Candice Gibson.

Some of the targeted initiatives Tourism Vancouver has developed over the years include print advertising in gay-specific travel magazines and guides, media relations programs, web initiatives, and attendance at key industry conferences and tradeshows.

Tourism Vancouver also provides annual gay-sensitivity training and orientation workshops for member hospitality providers, as well as its own management and frontline staff.

This work, it says, ensures Vancouver continues to deliver genuinely gay-friendly and welcoming experiences to visitors from around the world.

But, says gay Vancouver travel consultant Rick Hurlbut, the survey results should still be taken with a grain of salt.

He says surveys can be skewed to produce the results those taking them want to produce.

He says he’s taken plenty of travel surveys but rarely in the list of options is “the one I would have chosen.”

Further, Hurlbut adds, with Americans having hard economic times and being somewhat insular at the moment, Canada is a safe option.

“We’re convenient and we’re not scary,” he says.