The Greater Seattle Business Association — the largest LGBT chamber in the country — launched “Travel Gay Seattle” on Wednesday.
The GSBA has been working with the Seattle Office of Economic Development and other partners for more than a year on pamphlets, maps, travel guides and other outreach projects designed to reach this distinctly lucrative travel group.
In a 2009 travel study, American LGBT travelers on average said they’d spend $2,300 on travel over a four-month period while heterosexual couples said they’d spend $1,500. Sixty-two percent of LGBT travelers said they planned to travel the same or more than in 2008, compared to just 36 percent of heterosexual travelers.
Seattle’s efforts already seem to be working. Last year, the city ranked 14th in a list of top travel destinations for LGBT tourists. This year, for the first time, we cracked the top 10 at No. 9. Seattle already has one big draw: It has the second-highest percentage of LGBT residents of any American city.
The new travel site lets users book flights and accommodations, lists “gay-friendly” hotels and bars and displays ads from GSBA member businesses.
Alaska Airlines runs a national gay travel event calendar that includes Washington-area events. The GSBA hosts an exclusively local calendar on “Travel Gay Seattle” here.
The site is the culmination of work done in partnership with Alaska Airlines with support from Sound Transit and Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, which granted $15,000 toward the effort last May. Corporate sponsors include Sheraton Seattle Hotel, Amtrak and American Airlines.