OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Tourism
Tourism BC has apologized after distributing a marketing brochure telling business owners in the province that they are not allowed to promote gay tourism in China.
The brochure, entitled How to Market Your Business in China, states that advertising to gay tourists in China was forbidden by the Chinese National Tourism Administration. The wee problem with this statement: Absolutely no such ban exists.
The province’s NDP tourism critic, Spencer Chandra Herbert, was left completely baffled. “Why was this language in the B.C. government brochure?” he asked. “Who put it in there and for what reason?”
The B.C. government responded by saying that the details of various marketing restrictions between Canada and China (you know, the ones that don’t include any sort of gay marketing ban) are federal government territory, and the province had no role in its endorsement.
The province has since pulled the brochures.
James over at Gay Persons of Color noticed something odd the other day. Tourisme Montréal, which recently launched a new promotional blog called The Montréal Buzz to replace the five separate ones they started last summer, had added an on/off switch to the top of their page labelled “LGBT Content.” It was off by default.
I emailed Daniel Baylis—Tourisme Montréal’s amazing gay events blogger—to see what was up. Here is his explanation:
Tourisme Montréal is very aware of the LGBT market, and wanted to ensure that LGBT content was still part of “The Montréal Buzz.” But they were also concerned about reactions to people landing on a webpage and seeing too much “gay” — for instance, the perhaps-under-sophisticated couple from the mid-west who is thinking about Montréal as a destination. There is a risk that they would see some of half naked men kissing each other and think that Montréal was not for them. Ultimately we want all types of people to visit our city and experience the joie de vivre.
I don’t envy the tourism marketing industry; they have to advertise a city as being the perfect destination for all people, including crazy bigots who feel faint at the thought they might be sharing the city with a gay. (Shock horror!)
The solution, though, shouldn’t have been to hide us gays behind a curtain with a drawstring tucked away in the corner for the curious. I mean, this is Montréal we’re talking about here; all tourists will encounter a gay person every thirty seconds. Pretending that we didn’t exist for the benefit of some extra closed-minded visitors wasn’t just offensive to gays, it was an inaccurate portrayal of an incredible, diverse city. It was the sort of ill-advised compromise that I’d expect from one of Canada’s more, uh, shall we say “perhaps-under-sophisticated” tourism marketing organizations.
Whether a post features half-naked men kissing each other or not (and let’s face it, photos of half-naked people are a staple of the entire tourism industry), Tourisme Montréal had identified all GLBT content as a special hazard, unshared by any other post category. Why, even a post about Piknic Électronique, Parc Jean Drapeau’s weekly outdoor DJ set, was hidden by default because it was presumably too gay. This ran completely counter to the original idea of a unified blog to showcase all of Montréal’s vibrancy.
The switch is gone now—as of last night—but that probably still leaves The Montréal Buzz with a dilemma: How do you advertise the same place to people who are looking for very different experiences? Their old solution of having multiple blogs (including a gay one) made sense, but meant that people interested in more than one category had to follow several subsites.
Personally, I’d recommend fairer category filters that don’t single out any community as being somehow risky or problematic. After all, a couple of young gay tourists are probably just as uninterested in child-friendly stroller parks as conservative mid-westerners would be for Divers/Cité. Having a small list of check boxes for categories like “Family,” “Seniors,” “Night life,” “GLBT,” etc. would keep the spirit of a unified blog that can be browsed all at once, while still presenting an audience-targeted view of the city and not unfairly singling out the gays.
Whatever they end up doing now, I’m happy to see that Tourisme Montréal recognized their mistake and got rid of the switch so quickly. In fact, to facilitate the matter, it has been moved here. I don’t think I’ll put it at the top of the page, but it’ll be well taken care of, I promise!
A tremendous hat tip to James over at Gay Persons of Color for alerting me to the story.
Gays are not welcome at the Vatican—not even to visit. At least, that’s the word according to Bishop Janusz Kaleta, who spoke to the media at last month’s Assembly of United Nations World Tourism Organization.
Speaking to a reporter who clarified that gay tourists are travelling for personal visits and admiration, not political demonstrations, Bishop Kaleta had this to say:
I consider if someone is homosexual, it is a provocation and an abuse of this place. Try to go to a mosque if you are not Muslim. It is abuse of our buildings and our religion because the church interprets our religion that is not ethical. [...] If you have different ideas, go to a different location.
I already visited the Vatican in 2003, and I might go back. (So there.) My strongest impression, next to the sheer extravagance of its palaces, was that the Vatican was the gayest place I have ever been in my life. And that’s no surprise; the Vatican’s most famous architect, Michelangelo, is well documented to have been gay. I guess this means his type just isn’t welcome any more. Oh, well. That place is probably reaching its threshold in homoerotic artwork anyway. I mean, overdoing it is just tacky, right?
(Hat tip goes to Bruce at Canuck Attitude for alerting me to the story.)
Calgary’s mayor, Dave Bronconnier, announced at a mayoral debate on Wednesday that he could not “condone” the gay “lifestyle,” adding that if he had any choice in the matter, he would not have allowed Tourism Calgary to promote the city to gays. The mayor’s remarks were in response to an audience member’s complaint that her tax dollars were spent on a tourism campaign directed at gays and lesbians. (The poor dear!)
The woman, who angrily waved the tourism ad in her hand while asking the question, is one of Calgary’s many crazies who just have to declare how much they dislike gays at every available public venue, adding to the city’s unique image and charm. While the mayor said that the tourism agency’s marketing campaigns is not under his jurisdiction, he also felt compelled to sympathize with the question-asker instead of leaving the whole thing out of his hands.
Of course, when pressed by reporters to clarify his remarks, Bronco said it was the lady’s question that he wouldn’t condone. He did not clarify why he wouldn’t have allowed the Tourism Calgary campaign, or what his “lifestyle” comment was referring to.
As a former Calgary resident, I’m just happy to no longer be living somewhere where people go out of their way to distance themselves from my “lifestyle” (which I just call my “life;” it’s not terrifically different from anyone else’s).
- Gay rights groups troubled by mayor’s remarks [Canada.com]
Prince Edward Island’s tourism department is searching for gay couples to model for some upcoming advertisements designed to bring in the ol’ pink tourism dollars. Like Toronto and Calgary‘s recent campaigns, PEI is trying to market itself as a gay-friendly vacation spot. One small hitch: Potential gay tourists may not have forgotten the nationally-reported incident in which a couple was turned away from their reserved bed and breakfast after the owner discovered they were gay.
- Tourism PEI considers gay couples for ads [CBC News]
The city of Toronto has launched an expensive new ad campaign in hopes of attracting gay travelers. The campaign, whose tagline is “as gay as it gets,” is primarily targeted toward gays in the U.S.
In a completely unrelated story, Toronto’s CN Tower now lights up in rainbow colours at night, thanks to a sophisticated new LED system.
- T.O. aims to attract more gay tourists [Canoe]
- Toronto targets lucrative group: gay U.S. travellers [Globe and Mail]
- CN Tower to light up Toronto skyline [Canada.com]
Out Traveler, a gay and lesbian travel magazine, has named Canada’s top 5 gayest cities. While I’m not going to list them here, let’s just say that Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montréal should be expecting a few extra gay tourists this year! Wait, that might be a little too obvious. How about: Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal should be expecting a few fewer intolerant tourists this year. Yes, that’ll do.
As for my thoughts on the selections… Having grown up in Edmonton until my early 20s, I can authoritatively say: “Huh?” Mind you, things have probably changed in the city’s gay community, of which I knew pretty much nothing, having been closeted for the entire time. Plus, Edmonton still has the world’s largest shopping mall. That’s pretty gay, right?
So, congratulations to the cities that made the cut! And may all the ones that didn’t have an absolutely traditional Friday the 13th.
Ah, the power of the pink dollar! Tourism Calgary has started promoting the city to gay and lesbian tourists after the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce announced that Canada’s gay travelers spend over $7 billion annually. Joe Connelly, the vice president of Tourism Calgary, was especially quick to chime in, announcing that “Calgary is very gay friendly.”
Now, as a former Calgarian myself, I’d love to suggest a few of the amazing gay sights that the city has to offer. In fact, I think I have a travel review kicking around here… Ah, yes; here we go!
Calgary, Canada’s Most Gay-Aware City!
Whether you’re gay, lesbian, or simply not a bigot, Calgary is sure to offer a unique “culture-shock” experience you won’t soon forget! Located in the heart of Alberta, Calgary is world-renowned for its fascinatingly homogeneous culture. Spend an afternoon marveling at the city-wide hick pride festival (locally known as the Calgary Stampede), admiring a cowboy hat in the local shops, or simply wincing at the country music scene.
Gay travelers are in for a particularly special treat! Calgary’s only gay bar, Twisted Element, is located in the downtown’s eerie west side. If you find references to Detour, Boystown, RekRoom, or other gay-friendly establishments in any tour guide, don’t skip out just because they’ve closed down! Any of these empty buildings would make an atmospheric and affordable movie set.
Calgary’s annual gay pride parade is a must-see spectacle, unique for having marchers outnumber spectators, and its nationally-reported protester incidents! Gay issues are always at the forefront of the city’s consciousness, and stories will be featured prominently in the six o’clock newscasts. You’ll enjoy such street question segments as A-Channel’s January 18, 2005 poll: “Do you think that same-sex marriage is in the same category as adultery, prostitution, and pornography?” The results (51% yes, 49% no) will surely be an interesting conversation-starter when you get back!
Ah, memories… Well, until Monday, folks!
Update: In researching for an article, Kevin Libin from The National Post wrote in with a correction. There is, indeed, more than one gay bar left in Calgary. My apologies, folks!
- Tourism Calgary courts gays and lesbians [Calgary SUN]