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Gay Games a gain for tourism says ATC

The Sydney 2002 Gay Games will provide significant tourism opportunities for Sydney and Australia and help to profile the country as…

The Sydney 2002 Gay Games will provide significant tourism opportunities for Sydney and Australia and help to profile the country as a ‘gay-friendly’ destination, Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) Managing Director, Ken Boundy said.

The Sydney Gay Games will provide a welcome boost for the tourism industry and is expected to generate around $100 million for the NSW economy, Mr Boundy said.

An estimated 30,000 participants, supporters and spectators from around the world will be involved in this sporting and cultural extravaganza. This represents more than double the number of athletes and officials who were at the Manchester Commonwealth Games this year, and it is an excellent opportunity for Australia to be showcased once again to this growing tourism segment.

According to the most recent International Visitor Survey (IVS) released by the Bureau of Tourism Research (BTR) in September this year, gay and lesbian tourism continues to be a growing market in Australia. Figures indicate that in the six months to March 2002, around 13,000 gay and lesbian travellers have visited our shores.

Along with running a number of gay specific campaigns overseas, the ATC launched in April this year, which promotes Australia as the world’s premier gay and lesbian destination. Aimed specifically at the US market, the website offers a range of deals, access to gay travel experts and a gay guide to Australia.

Gay and lesbian tourism represents a high-yield market for Australia. The ATC recognises the importance of this market and has worked to promote and support gay and lesbian travel to Australia, Mr Boundy said.

Australia is an attractive destination for gay and lesbian travellers as it offers vibrant, cosmopolitan and diverse tourism experiences combined with world class facilities. Travellers are drawn to Australia by the food and wine, cultural attractions and entertainment.

A number of post-Gay Games tours and activities will add to the experience, with destinations around the country set to provide the perfect end to the seven-day event.

In Adelaide, the annual gay and lesbian cultural festival, Feast, will see a film and theatre festival, a series of literary nights, and the ever-popular Picnic in the Park. In the heart of central Australia, gay and lesbian tour operators and travel specialists in Alice Springs will stage a special post Gay Games get-together, promising a weekend of outback activities from November 15, 2002. The nation’s capital will also be celebrating in style, with the fourth annual Springout festival celebrating the diversity of local Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex communities around Canberra.