Vancouver should lure lesbian tourists: councillor


VANCOUVER – A Vancouver councillor wants more American lesbians to visit his city and hopes city council will come up with $25,000 to target the potentially lucrative market.

Coun. Tim Stevenson has a motion before council Tuesday urging the city to spend the money in order to make about one million impressions on lesbians in the U.S. through advertisements in four editions of Curve magazine.

“It just makes good, strong economic sense,” Stevenson of a plan developed in conjunction with Tourism Vancouver.

The economics are staggering.

Candice Gibson, manager of consumer marketing at Tourism Vancouver, said the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered tourism market from America alone is worth approximately $50 billion annually.

The lesbian market could be worth “tens of millions” of dollars to Vancouver, according to Gibson.

Coun. Peter Ladner acknowledges the importance of that market but believes Tourism Vancouver should be using its own budget for any such plan.

“It’s not city council’s business to make specific decisions about specific marketing initiatives by Tourism Vancouver,” said Ladner.

“If we start to do that, where does it end?” he said.

Tourism is a big business in the Lower Mainland.

There were about nine million visitors to Metro Vancouver last year, and they spent about $4.6 billion.

But Gibson said Vancouver tourism is currently “flat,” with zero growth.

There has been a decline in U.S. visitors of six per cent and without the increase in Canadian visitors to the region there would be decline of four per cent.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” she said.