Gay Days weekend 2012 booms with capacity crowds

Gay Days 2012 was the event’s biggest year yet, with organizers and partners reporting record-breaking attendance and sales numbers.

“Our host hotel sold out two weeks earlier than last year and attendance at all of our events was up,” said Chris Manley, who is the co-owner of Gay Days along with his partner, Tommy. The Gay Days host hotel was the Doubletree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld, which has 1,000 rooms. Manley said the hotel reserved 900 rooms for Gay Days visitors but because they sold out so quickly, they were able to secure an extra 50.

See Watermark’s complete Gay Days coverage!

“This is our third year with Doubletree and we’ve signed another three-year contract,” Manley said. “We’re their largest client and I think that finally reached up to Hilton, which owns Doubletree, so [Hilton] came on as a sponsor this year.”

Manley reported that they sold all 120 available spaces at the Gay Days Expo and those vendors reported bigger sales than previous years. The Expo is held on the ground floor of the Doubletree Hotel, but Manley said they also sell vendor spaces outdoors and in the women’s wing, and both locations had four times the number of vendors as last year. He said this is the first year they offered vendor space in the Bear wing, as well.

“I think the economy is improving little by little,” Manley said. “The power of our marketing we do around the country and around the world gets the message out to more and more people.”

via Gay Days weekend 2012 booms with capacity crowds.

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Gay Days 2012: Orlando’s visitors bureau making more of an effort to reach gay travelers – Orlando Sentinel

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.

via Gay Days 2012: Orlando’s visitors bureau making more of an effort to reach gay travelers – Orlando Sentinel.

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‘Gay Days’ expected to boost Orlando economy |


Officials say Orlando is expected to see a boost in the local economy as more tourists and tourist dollars flow in as the annual ‘Gay Days’ event reaches its peak.

The organizers of Gay Days say the six-day event should bring millions of dollars to the local economy.

“We’ve been eating and going out every night,” one visitor told WFTV. “There was a big party at Typhoon Lagoon last night and we all dropped a couple hundred bucks.”

The streets of Disney were packed with tourists celebrating the annual event that started 21 years ago and has continued to grow since. Officials expect 160,000 people to be in town for the event this weekend.

Disney does not officially sanction the event, but participants praised the theme park for being so accommodating.

“I think it’s a great thing for everyone to be able to come out and get together every year, in a place that accepts everyone no matter what they are,” visitor Justin King said.

The president of Gay Days says the event could bring as much as $600,000,000 to the local economy, but some tourism officials believe that number is a bit high.

Gay Days began in 1991 and while the event has faced criticism from some conservative groups, it has reportedly grown every year

via ‘Gay Days’ expected to boost Orlando economy |

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Gay Days expecting record attendance, economic boost |


Beginning on Tuesday, more than 150,000 people will be in Orlando for the annual Gay Days event.

Eyewitness News learned that event organizers are expecting record crowds, and hotels are already booked solid.

Gay Days started 20 years ago as a celebration of gay pride at Orlando’s most famous theme park, but now it is an economic powerhouse that pumps significant money into local businesses.

The Parliament House Resort and Night Club has been planning for the event since November.

“We couldn’t do it if we didn’t start that early,” said Drew Sizemore with the Parliament House Resort.

The hotel caters to gay clients and its 130 rooms are sold out and so are the 950 rooms at the Double Tree near SeaWorld, where most of the events are being held.

For the first time, Gay Days is expecting more than 160,000 people

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