Long-Term Policy of Acceptance Pays Dividends in Gay Capital of the United States


GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Feb 28, 2014) - Greater Fort Lauderdale is reaping the rewards of an open and welcoming relationship with lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-gender residents, tourists and businesses, resulting in a record-breaking 1.3 million LGBT visitors in 2013 spending $1.48 billion.


For the first time, rainbow pride flags were unfurled along Fort Lauderdale beach in celebration of this year's South Florida Pride Fest on March 1 and 2 at the War Memorial Auditorium.


"We fly the rainbow flag loud and proud in Greater Fort Lauderdale," said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "I am proud that we are the first CVB in the country to have a dedicated department, staff and marketing dollars to support LGBT tourism and the hundreds of gay-owned and operated hotels and businesses throughout the destination."


The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB has been rolling out the Rainbow Carpet since 1996, when it allocated a $35,000 gay marketing budget for its first dedicated LGBT ad campaign and become the first Convention & Visitors Bureau with an LGBT-centric vacation planner and LGBT section on a CVB tourism website.


"By celebrating the diversity of Greater Fort Lauderdale and embracing the LGBT community, we have enjoyed nearly two decades as an undisputed pioneer in tourism," said Richard Gray, LGBT managing director for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.


Today, the CVB's LGBT marketing budget tops $1 million with integration into mainstream marketing initiatives. In addition to best-ever visitor numbers and related spending in Greater Fort Lauderdale, highlights of LGBT tourism include:

o   Ranked as the 7th most popular LGBT travel destination, as reported by Community Marketing, Inc.

o   Wilton Manors named 2013 "Gayborhood of the Year" by ManAboutWorld Editors' Choice Awards

o   Recognized as Florida's largest and most popular diverse gay capital with the largest resident lesbian and gay community, the most same-sex couples in the country (followed by Seattle and San Francisco) and the most gay-owned and operated businesses in the state.

o   Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is the only tourism board with a designated LGBT managing director.

o   Home to the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center, the first of its kind, opening in Spring 2014.


For more information, please visit www.sunny.org/lgbt.




About Greater Fort Lauderdale

From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a "beach chic" vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping. For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org.


The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/visitlauderdale or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitlauderdale or join us on Foursquare at www.foursquare.com/visitlauderdale. To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download Fork Lauderdale dining app and Defrost Your Swimsuit awww.sunny.org/apps.