When hundreds of thousands of visitors descend on Toronto for World Pride celebrations in 2014, Travel Gay Canada and Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) want to ensure those travellers extend their stays and experience the unique and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender)- friendly tourism offerings of this southwestern Ontario region.
Windsor - November 22, 2012 - When hundreds of thousands of visitors descend on Toronto for World Pride celebrations in 2014, Travel Gay Canada and Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island (TWEPI) want to ensure those travellers extend their stays and experience the unique and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender)- friendly tourism offerings of this southwestern Ontario region.
To achieve this, Windsor Essex is one of three destinations participating in an Ontario LGBT tourism development initiative being piloted by Travel Gay Canada, with funding support from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture. The other pilot destinations are the Waterloo/Guelph/Stratford area and Gananoque/1000 Islands. The initiative is enabling those destinations to successfully prepare for and serve the LGBT travel market through market-readiness assessments, diversity training, awareness programs, and targeted marketing and promotions.
“Windsor-Essex has so many wonderful experiences and attractions that appeal to the LGBT market,” said Darrell Schuurman, Executive Director of Travel Gay Canada. “Building on those strengths, we presented TWEPI with recommendations on how the region and local businesses can further attract and welcome the LGBT visitor.”
Overview of the LGBT tourism development recommendations:
•Establish a regional LGBT tourism committee or group
•Increase LGBT-targeted tourism product development
•Engage the local community
•Expand LGBT-targeted marketing and partnerships
•Attract LGBT professionals, business, conferences and events
“TWEPI is delighted to partner with Travel Gay Canada in ensuring our region is destination ready for the LGBT market,” said Gordon Orr, Chief Executive Officer of Tourism Windsor Essex Pelee Island. “From wineries and culinary delights to birding and outdoors excursions, from gaming and nightlife, to culture and heritage, we look forward to showcasing our region and providing unique experiences to LGBT visitors.”
The North American LGBT travel market spends over $73 billion on travel annually. This market provides a huge economic opportunity for the Ontario tourism industry, but without full understanding and preparedness of this market, destinations will not be able to adequately meet their expectations. In addition to World Pride, Cleveland, Ohio is expecting up to 70,000 to attend the Gay Games in August 2014.
Travel Gay Canada launched the “LGBT Tourism Market Development Guide and Toolkit”, now that the pilot is complete. The Guide will assist destinations in identifying the value and opportunity for their region and businesses in targeting the LGBT market. Further, it will assist these destinations in becoming market ready by becoming more familiar with the market and providing valuable resources that they will be able to implement and use.