A recently released report from Travel Gay Canada indicates the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender) tourism market in Canada represents almost $7 Billion in annual spending in 2011. The report identifies the market as 2 million gay travellers with Prince Edward Island attracting only 2% of that market compared to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick who get 6%. Our neighbouring provinces generate 3 times the revenue from the gay travel market than we do.
Significantly though, LGBT travellers stay longer when they visit PEI than either Nova Scotia or New Brunswick with 60% staying for more than five days. So those gay tourists who come to the Island clearly find their vacation requirements are being met.
So while we have what the market is interested in, the challenge we face is finding a way to let the market know that and get them to decide to come to the Island for a holiday. The Travel Gay Canada report shows that 86% of gay travellers use LGBT magazines and travel guides as sources of information when deciding where to spend their vacations. They also use traditional online travel information sites but are clearly influenced by marketing directed specifically to them. Being visible in LGBT publications and travel sites sends a clear message of welcome that many gay travellers respond to.
The PEI Gay Tourism Association is a group of operators who have come together to explore ways to increase the number of LGBT travellers coming to the Island. The PEIGTA is developing a marketing strategy aimed at raising Prince Edward Island’s profile within the gay tourism market. Based on the Travel Gay Canada study, the most cited reasons by gay travellers for choosing a destination are rest/relaxation, shopping (local products) and safety. A perfect fit with the Gentle Island of Rejuvenation marketing strategy already in place. We just need to get that message in the right places.
If you see the potential of this market and you’re interested in participating in efforts to increase the number of LGBT travellers coming to PEI, please visit our website (www.gaytourismpei.ca). Information on membership is on the site. We currently have accommodations, restaurants, tour operators and marriage commissioners involved with the Association.