Seattle to Host First Ever West Coast LGBT Tourism Summit

Tourism Industry Executives and LGBT Chamber Leaders converge on Seattle to discuss a regional approach to increasing LGBT tourism to the west coast 

Following the success of the Greater Seattle Business Association’s Travel Gay Seattle initiative, Seattle will host LGBT Chambers of Commerce, convention and visitor bureaus, travel planners and chamber businesses at the first West Coast LGBT Tourism Summit, January 6-8.

Glenn Johnson, President of Horizon Airlines, will deliver the keynote speech and experts from leading market research, public relations and social media firms such as Nyhus Communications, Community Marketing, Inc. and Pink Banana Media will host sessions on developing a successful inbound tourism initiative.

The 2011 West Coast LGBT Tourism Summit will focus on providing tools for attendees to attract LGBT tourism to their city. By following GSBA’s lead of forming partnerships with private and public organizations, local travel organizations can bolster the LGBT tourism industry in their area. Sessions at the summit include a city by city status report delivered by each participating chamber or region, information on how to develop a local LGBT visitors guide, utilize technology, and how to market and brand a city or region. Event sponsor include Alaska Airlines, Boeing, USBank and the Seattle Renaissance Hotel.

GSBA’s travel portal, Travel Gay Seattle, allows travelers to book their plane or train tickets and hotel stay, as well as find restaurants, shopping, and unique neighborhoods. By developing similar initiatives on the west coast, tourism professionals hope to create a regional community for LGBT travelers.

“LGBT Tourism is an essential component of the West Coast economy. Some of the top gay and lesbian popular destinations in the world are located in western North America drawing hundreds of thousands of LGBT travelers from around the world every year,” said David Paisley Community Marketing Inc. “In addition LGBT events such as Pride are often the biggest public events in their communities, and attract participants far and wide.”

To launch Travel Gay Seattle, GSBA partnered with Seattle-based Alaska Airlines, a company with a reputation for flexibility and outstanding service, as well as an established reputation for LGBT-friendly travel. Additional support came from the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development and Sound Transit, a regional network of commuter rail, light rail, express buses, and local transit resources. Corporate sponsors include Sheraton Seattle Hotel, Amtrak and American Airlines.

“LGBTQ Tourism is estimated to be an $84 billion industry and Seattle is poised to attract a significant portion of that revenue, said Jerome Bader, GSBA Director of Marketing & External Relations. “Seattle has the 2nd largest percentage of openly LGBTQ citizens in the United States, scenic beauty that cannot be matched, restaurants, a wine industry that is unparalleled and metropolitan communities that are open and welcoming to all. Currently Seattle is ranked number 9 in the top 20 LGBTQ tourism destinations, I want to be in the top 5!”

Source = Greater Seattle Business Association
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