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San Francisco Tops Gay Tourism List

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San Francisco, which developed in the 1970s into the epicentre of the gay rights movement, remains the top gay-friendly destination in the US.

More than three-quarters of respondents to a poll by the Travel Industry Association agreed that San Francisco was gay-friendly, putting it streets ahead of Key West and New York, which were deemed gay-friendly by 57 per cent and 51 per cent respectively.

Fire Island also made an appearance on the list, with 48 per cent considering it gay-friendly, putting it just ahead of Provincetown in Massachusetts and Los Angeles.

The survey has in fact highlighted the importance of gay-friendliness in the travel industry, with 48 per cent of gay men and 47 per cent of lesbians saying it is important to them when choosing a destination for a holiday.

Indeed, 53 per cent of gay men and 69 per cent of lesbians argued that finding a place identified as safe and free from intimidation was among their top three reasons for choosing a holiday destination.

Witeck-Combs Communications assisted the Travel Industry Association in its research and Bob Witeck, the company's chief executive, said: "Gay-friendliness is frequently mentioned as a litmus test for how gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender travellers and consumers favour destinations, travel brands and services. We find they are not looking for special treatment, but, instead expecting consideration and equal respect given all customers."

Interestingly, the survey has also found that gay men tend to spend more on their travels than lesbians and heterosexuals. Gay men spent nearly a third more than heterosexuals on their last holiday, including the air fare and car rental.

Laura Mandala, vice president of research with the Travel Industry Association, added: "While we've known the importance of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender travel market for some time, this study really underscores the tremendous economic potential of the market to the travel industry.

"This data will be invaluable as the industry increases its efforts to reach out to this historically under-served travel segment."track

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