Adam Dupuis's picture

Travel Thursday: Cities Welcome LGBT+ Travelers With Visitor Centers Made For Us. Add Fort Lauderdale, Florida To The List

With LGBT Travel being a multi billion dollar business ($200 Billion in 2014), cities are working to market themselves even more.  We know of the gay meccas in the nation like San Francisco, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and New York City, with the smaller beach towns of Rehoboth, Saugatuck, Ogunquit, and Provincetown, but what the heck do you do when you get there?  Or what the heck should you do before you get there?

Just a little over a month ago Fort Lauderdale, Florida opened up its LGBT+ Visitor Center. It's a wise move since the Greater Fort Lauderdale welcomes 1.5 million LGBT+ visitors annually who spend roughly $1.5 billion. The Visitor Center is a result of a partnership between the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau & the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce. 

We are proud to have a long and positive history of supporting the LGBT+ community. The opening of this Visitor Center marks another important milestone in the uniqueness of our area in recognizing the value and needs of the LGBT+ visitor. We are very excited about this latest advancement in calling attention to all of our great attractions, hotels, clubs, bars and restaurants that cater to this important audience. - Richard Gray, Vice President of LGBT+ for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau

Remember sending letters into or calling visitors bureaus to request brochures and trip guides from cities as you planned your vacations? Pouring through the selections and pages was always fun with great pictures of destinations, but where were the rainbows? Well, here come the rainbows. The World Tourism Organization estimated in a 2016 report that LGBT travelers account for five to 10 per cent of global tourists.  We have the money and we are spending it, but we need the help to know where our money should be spent on quality and at gay owned businesses and businesses that welcome us.

There are hundreds of gay-owned and operated businesses in the Greater Fort Lauderdale Area as it arguably has the highest concentration of same-sex couple households in the country. Th diversity in Southern Florida is quite noticeable and that does include LGBT+. 

The economic impact the LGBT+ community locally cannot be understated, especially by LGBT+ visitors that come here from all over the world year after year. While LGBT+ travelers have many of the same needs as straight travelers, many unique needs exist. This Visitor Center will serve as a place where people can stop in, ask for recommendations and receive information about the community, our member businesses, events and organizations. - Keith Blackburn, CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce

When it comes to gay travel, Instinct Magazine posts its Travel Thursday pieces each week as a way of sharing with its readers our own experiences from our own personal travels.  The trips our writers share are ones they have been invited to go on while others share their personal vacations to destinations all over the world.

We are just visitors in some of these communities. We do our research as well as inquire from locals what things we should be doing while visiting. Now, cities are doing the work for us. There are other cities across the nation that have a dedicated LGBT Community Center, LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and LGBT Visitor Center. 

Here are some other LGBT Visitors Centers we know of across the nation. Feel free to give a nod to others you know. 


The Key West Business Guild and its LGBT Visitor Center have relocated to a new, larger location. The guild, acclaimed as one of America’s leading gay business associations and among the oldest in the nation, and its visitor center are now located at 808 Duval St. The guild office and center are open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for walk-ins. Visitors also can call the guild for assistance at 305-294-4603 or e-mail office@gaykeywestfl.com. - http://gaykeywestfl.com/


San Diego LGBT Visitors Center

San Diego's official travel resource for LGBT tourists and our allies. We provide the most trusted and useful information, maps and local recommendations. 

The goal of the San Diego LGBT Visitors Center is to share San Diego's LGBT friendly brand and image with the world. We are partially funded by the Southern California Equality Business Alliance, operating under the fiscal guidance of the San Diego Human Dignity Foundation, a 501(c)3 charitable organization.  - https://www.lgbtvisitorscenter.org/


 

LGBT Visitor Center Miami Beach

The LGBT Visitor Center in Miami Beach, at 1130 Washington Avenue, opens its door with Pride to thousands of tourists from around the globe each year. Situated in the historic Old City Hall building, we’re literally at the epicenter of LGBTQ activity in South Beach. Steps to Ocean Drive and the Beach, a few blocks from famed Lincoln Rd and right in the middle of bars, restaurants, shops and hotels. Our vibrant LGBTQ community helps make Miami and the beaches one of the top LGBTQ destinations in the world!

The LGBT Visitor Center builds strong community by fostering social engagement and community wellness. We enhance the health and well-being of the LGBTQ communities by providing activities, programs and services that create community and empower community members. We also provide essential resources for the LGBTQ tourist promoting socioeconomic development and tourism. 

1130 Washington Ave, First Floor North, Miami Beach, FL 33139-4600 - http://www.gogaymiami.com/
 
h/t:  skift.com  , www.sunny.org/lgbt , https://www.gogayfortlauderdale.com/visitor-center

If you have travel ideas, places we should visit, or work for a PR company and are looking for writers to visit, please reach out to customerservice@instinctmagazine.com and address your comments to the Managing Editor.

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Adam, Thanks for including San Diego in the list!   There is also Seattle, and Tampa's LGBT Welcome Center - not to mention, San Francisco has a Castro Ambassadors program with kiosks that provide information!  And some of us are working to launch the world's first LGBT Sister City program later this year!

-Eddie Rey

Founder, San Diego LGBT Visitors Center / Southern California Equality Business Alliance

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