ManAboutWorld has named Fort Lauderdale its LGBT Destination of the Year:
“Not content to rest on gay assets, the county’s tourism promotion board sets industry standards. The county has worked tirelessly in the last year to bring new gay events and many meetings to Greater Ft. Lauderdale, and to support the advancement of LGBT rights in Florida and around the world. In July, it became the first Convention and Visitors Bureau in the country to call for a repeal of its states’ gay marriage ban. It is currently conducting the first survey of transgendered travelers, showing sensitivity to all segments of the LGBT travel market.”
Here’s the news release from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB):
GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2014) – Greater Fort Lauderdale, the city with the highest concentration of same-sex couple households in the U.S., beat out worldwide competition to be named “Destination of the Year” by the 2014 ManAboutWorld Editors’ Choice Awards, recognizing the very best in gay travel.
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Greater Fort Lauderdale continues to be a destination of choice for LGBT travelers with hundreds of gay-owned and operated businesses and one of the country’s most diverse gay capitals. Featuring the largest Pride Center and the world’s first AIDS museum, Greater Fort Lauderdale is also home to the Stonewall Museum, one of the only permanent spaces in the U.S. devoted to exhibitions relating to LGBT history and culture.
“Gay-popular since the 70s, Fort Lauderdale is still on the rise while other gay destinations are mainstreaming...with its white sand gay beach, 16 exclusively gay guesthouses (the most of any destination), and a nightlife scene that’s busy seven nights a week,” wrote ManAboutWorld editor, Ed Salvato.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) has been rolling out the Rainbow Carpet since 1996, when it allocated a $35,000 gay marketing budget to create its first dedicated LGBT ad campaign and become the first Convention & Visitors Bureau with an LGBT-centric vacation planner and the first LGBT website on a CVB homepage.
"We have been out, proud and proactively welcoming LGBT visitors since 1995, and this recognition only further motivates us to keep on bringing more targeted LGBT events to our warm, welcoming and diverse destination," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The GFLCVB was applauded by ManAboutWorld for setting industry standards, becoming in July 2014 the first CVB in the country to support a repeal of its state’s gay marriage ban. In another first, the CVB commissioned the first ever survey of transgender travelers, soon to be released, furthering its efforts to best cater to all segments of the LGBT market.
Gay Days, a vacation celebration for the LGBT community, will take place for the first time in Greater Fort Lauderdale in 2014, plus the Southern Comfort Transgender Conference has signed on with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau to bring its 2015, 2016 and 2017 events to South Florida.
“With approximately 1.3 million LGBT travelers spending $1.4 billion a year, we continue to proudly welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers, events, meetings, businesses and conferences,” said Richard Gray, managing director for the LGBT market at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are excited to share our sunshine with even more of the LGBT community and to continue to better understand all the needs and interests of this important travel market.”
The ManAboutWorld Editors’ Choice Awards recognize the best in gay travel that reflect the publication’s values of transformative travel through authentic and personal experiences of different peoples, places and cultures. The magazine is the brainchild of Billy Kolber, who started the magazine in 2012 after more than 12 years at OUT&ABOUT, which he also founded.