Tens of thousands of visitors are in Central Florida this week for one of the biggest annual events on the gay community’s nationwide travel calendar, yetOrlando’s primary visitors bureau had little to do with their presence here.
After years of ignoring gay and lesbian travelers, however, Visit Orlando is starting to make more of an effort — some say an overdue effort — to promote the nation’s leading leisure-travel destination to this niche market.
For the first time in its history, the publicly subsidized convention-and-visitors bureau has a page on its website targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender visitors. It is working with a gay-oriented marketing agency to attract more German tourists, and it recently spent $3,500 on a national print advertisement aimed at the LGBT market, in cooperation with other tourism-promotion groups.
“We have continued to grow our presence in that market,” said Danielle Courtenay, Visit Orlando’s chief marketing officer. “It is certainly a market out there that Orlando can continue to benefit from.”
Still, Visit Orlando doesn’t do nearly as much as many other destinations do to woo LGBT travelers, known for their above-average disposable income and propensity for travel.