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Windsor-Essex looks to court LGBT tourists

Metro News

A new guidebook is helping businesses in Windsor attract lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered travellers.

A product of Travel Gay Canada, Tourism Windsor-Essex Pelee Island and Pride Fest Windsor-Essex, the guide contains information about how to target the lucrative LGBT tourist market.

“We already had lots of people coming up for weddings, so we thought why not show off what else we have to offer,” says Pride Fest president David Lenz.

For Lenz, attracting LGBT travellers not only helps showcase the region’s inclusivity, it also makes financial sense.

“It’s a huge opportunity,” he says. “LGBT travellers in North America spend $73 billion on travel every year.

“Windsor-Essex already has a number of desirable destinations, Lenz says, so it’s just a matter of marketing it to LGBT communities in places like Michigan and Ohio.

The guide contains information on how to do just that.

“The LGBT traveler is looking for the same products and services as any other traveler. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to find ways to adjust your products or experiences to speak specifically to the LGBT traveler,” reads the guide. “Some examples include car rental companies waiving additional driver fees for same-sex partners, or hotels offering his and his robes.

“Windsor has been very supportive of LGBT people and the guide is a way for the community to return the favour, Lenz says.

“The community has been supporting us all these years and we’re trying to give it back to them,” he said

.LGBT travel by the numbers

On average, gay and lesbian travelers spend nearly twice as much per trip in Canada compared to the general population ($1,131 vs. $597).

Roughly 78 per cent of the LGBT community have valid passports compared to 56 per cent of the general population.

Gay and lesbian travelers are frequent flyers: 63 per cent took one or more flights per year and of these 54 per cent took four or more flights per year.