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The Greater Fort Lauderdale area opened its first-ever LGBT+ visitor center dedicated to showcasing attractions of interest to the community on Thursday.
The new center, a joint venture between the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce, is located in Wilton Manors, which is home to the region's largest concentration of gay residents and businesses. It will share space with the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce
"We are proud to have a long and positive history of supporting the LGBT+ community," said Richard Gray, Vice President of LGBT+ for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. "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."
Greater Fort Lauderdale, considered one of the most diverse and welcoming destinations in the world, is home to hundreds of gay-owned and operated businesses. The region, which also has the highest concentration of same-sex couple households in the country, welcomes 1.5 million LGBT+ visitors who spend $1.5 billion on travel-related services every year.
"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," said Keith Blackburn, CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce. "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."
The Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB also recently announced it would host the first-ever Pride of the Americas Festival in 2020. The 10-day event will feature a parade, a beach party, an arts festival, social events and a human rights conference focused on LGBT+ rights. It is expected to attract more than 350,000 attendees.
Greater Fort Lauderdale is also home to one of the largest Pride Centers in the country as well as the world's first AIDS museum, the global headquarters of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, and the Stonewall Museum, one of the only permanent spaces in the U.S. devoted to exhibitions relating to LGBT+ history and culture.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau became the first domestic marketing agency with a dedicated LGBT+ marketing department in 1996. It continues to pioneer LGBT+ marketing efforts, while also ensuring the destination remains inclusive and welcoming with a diverse, safe and open community for all travelers.
Monica Poling, the evening and weekend editor at TravelPulse.com, has been writing about travel for more than 20 years....
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