“Fort Lauderdale has become one of the largest and fastest growing gayborhoods in the country,” says Billy Kolber, founder of ManAboutWorld Magazine.
The year’s biggest gay cruise will navigate the Caribbean onboard Atlantis Events’ 3,700-guest Independence of the Seas from Feb. 2–10, visiting four islands including St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan, and the beaches of Royal Caribbean’s private sanctuary in Haiti, Labadee. The 2,100 gay and lesbian guests onboard RSVP Vacations’ Eurodam will sail to the Caribbean islands for Carnival in Curacao, as well as calls at Aruba and Holland America Line’s private island Half Moon Cay, from Feb. 9-16.
“With the largest resident LGBT community in Florida, and as one of the largest gay destinations in the U.S., the size of the market certainly does matter,” said Richard Gray, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau’s (CVB) newly-appointed managing director for the LGBT Market. “Through initiatives like this we’re both attracting new visitors and supporting the visitors that come back to the destination every year.”
The LGBT cruises come on the (9-inch) heels of the CVB’s 2013 “Hello Sunny” marketing campaign that capitalizes on the annual $1 billion economic impact of more 1 million LGBT travelers visiting in the region each year. Apart from the sun, sand and surf, LGBT visitors are attracted to the cosmopolitan destination the region has become, with more than 150 gay owned and operated businesses.
The CVB recently launched the 2013 Hello Sunny Marketing Campaign with a focus on the LGBT community, including Mild to Wild, the LGBT Mobile Site which doubles as a digital stylist generating morning, afternoon, evening and late-night activities and events and serving up Foursquare deals from participating businesses.
Independence of the Seas Image © CruiseDiva.com