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Las Vegas named one of the Top U.S. destinations for gay, lesbian travelers worldwide

Las Vegas is among the leading U.S. travel destinations for gays and lesbians, according to a recent study by Community Marketing, Inc., a San Francisco-based market research lab…

Las Vegas is among the leading U.S. travel destinations for gays and lesbians, according to a recent study by Community Marketing, Inc., a San Francisco-based market research lab. Twenty-five percent of the 4,000 gays and lesbians surveyed traveled to Las Vegas in 2005, ranking second only to New York, where 30 percent had visited. San Francisco ranked third, with 24 percent.



The findings help bolster Las Vegas` evolution into one of the world`s most exciting destinations with world-class dining and shopping, unparalleled entertainment and top golf courses and spas. Las Vegas hosted 37.4 million visitors in 2004 and that number is estimated to increase to a record-breaking 38 million in 2005. In upcoming campaigns, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) plans to punctuate its marketing programs with the launch of a multi-faceted campaign specifically targeting the gay and lesbian traveler.



Millions of gay and lesbian travelers are drawn to Las Vegas each year because they crave the Las Vegas experience, says Terry Jicinsky, senior vice president of marketing, LVCVA. The fact Las Vegas beat out San Francisco, which was once thought of as the preferred destination for this market, shows Las Vegas is making great strides in attracting a diverse audience.



Las Vegas offers a multitude of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including the hottest gourmet restaurants by celebrity chefs including Bobby Flay, Hubert Keller, Rick Moonen and Daniel Boulud, as well as unparalleled headliners and productions year-round such as MAMMA MIA! at Mandalay Bay, Jubilee! at the Tropicana and Celine Dion`s A New Day … and Elton John`s The Red Piano, both at Caesars Palace`s Colosseum. Shopping has also made its name in Las Vegas with venues such as The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, Fashion Show, Forum Shops at Caesars and Mandalay Place.



When it comes to nightlife, Vegas` offerings for gay and lesbian travelers are just as impressive. KRAVE, the newest upscale gay and lesbian nightlife experience on the Strip, opened late 2004 with an incredible response from gay tourists and locals alike. Las Vegas annually welcomes one of the largest gay and lesbian pride festivals in the West, Viva Las Vegas which delivers dance parties, top-name entertainment and more set against the glittering Las Vegas Strip. Las Vegas is home to Blue Moon Resort, a gay-owned hotel and property designed with the gay traveler in mind, and Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel, gay-owned-and-operated, bed-and-breakfast and wedding chapel that offers union ceremonies by an Elvis impersonator in the back of his legendary pink Cadillac.



Las Vegas attracts gay and lesbian visitors primarily for its wide variety of entertainment offerings, as well as for its gaming, architecture, dining, shopping and fun atmosphere, said Thomas Roth, president, Community Marketing, Inc. As the LVCVA increases its `gay welcoming` communications, according to focus group participants, it will become even more popular for first-time and repeat visitors from the gay community.



The American gay and lesbian community represents a $65 billion travel market in the United States, amounting to about 5 percent of the annual $1.3 trillion U.S. travel industry, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. Recent studies by Community Marketing Inc., however, indicate that gay and lesbian travel and tourism represents a far larger percentage of the overall travel market.

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