MONTREAL -- Quebec is aiming to boost visitor traffic from the gay
and lesbian community through a campaign called Visit Gay-Friendly
The campaign is being spearheaded by Tourism Quebec and
Community Marketing of San Francisco, the umbrella organization of
Travel Alternatives Group, a consortium of travel agencies and
preferred suppliers serving the gay and lesbian community.
TAG also stages the annual Gay and Lesbian Travel Expo.
Sponsors of the Visit Gay-Friendly Quebec '98 campaign include
Tourism Quebec, Air Canada, Tourism Montreal and the Greater Quebec
City Office of Tourism.
The multimillion-dollar initiative represents the first time a
government tourism board has created a comprehensive promotional
campaign targeting gay and lesbian travelers.
Quebec has participated in gay and lesbian travel workshops put on
by Community Marketing and TAG during the past few years, but the
board wanted to better market the destination to the community and
be one of the first to tap the market through a broader promotional
initiative, according to Fair Gordon, director of tourism for the
Western U.S. at Tourism Quebec.
"We wanted to do something on a larger scale to involve agents
and suppliers, and we wanted to get involved early on," Gordon
said. "The people of Quebec are very welcoming, and the destination
is naturally gay friendly."
Gordon added that Quebec always has been a favorite among gay
and lesbian travelers as a result of Montreal's large gay and
The campaign is designed to promote the French-speaking
province's many lures to the gay and lesbian community, as well as
the trade, in order to better sell the destination to the
The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association held its
annual conference in Montreal this year, which fueled the momentum
of the Visit Gay-Friendly Quebec '98 campaign, Gordon said.
The campaign is an international effort, with a heavy focus on
the U.S. market.
Elements of the initiative include a direct-mail campaign, a
print advertising campaign in gay-oriented consumer publications
and the establishment of a direct extension for gay-friendly Quebec
travel information under Tourism Quebec's toll-free number.
Among the efforts on the trade side, Tourism Quebec is hosting a
number of familiarization programs with support from local tour
operators throughout the year.
U.S. tour operators are being introduced to local Quebec
suppliers, and as part of the campaign Montreal's annual Bienvenue
Quebec trade show, held in October, will focus on Quebec as a
Gordon said the show, which draws international tour operators
to meet with tourism suppliers in eastern Canada, will feature a
presentation by Tom Roth, president of the Community Marketing and
TAG, who will speak on what constitutes "gay friendly" and how to
market to the gay and lesbian travel community.
Visit Gay-Friendly Quebec '98 is designed to spotlight
attractions and events geared toward the gay and lesbian community
as well as mainstream draws that position Quebec for any traveler
seeking history, local culture and unique events, according to
"There are so many festivals and events in both Montreal and
Quebec City," he said. "Quebec is well known for its culture,
history, architecture and cuisine, and Quebec also is a great
destination for adventure activities such as biking, hiking and
canoeing. With its French flair, it is like going to Europe."
Some of the events in Montreal being promoted under the Visit
Gay-Friendly Quebec '98 campaign include the Black and Blue Party
in October and the gay and lesbian pride parade in July.
Other annual mainstream events in Montreal that attract a large
gay and lesbian contingent include the International Festival of
Jazz and the Just for Laughs comedy festival, both in July.
In Quebec City, home to the Winter Carnival in February, a new
event for gay and lesbian skiers called Ski Out was held in March
this year and will take place annually.
Agents can receive more information on Gay-Friendly Quebec or
fam tours by contacting:
Phone: (800) 363-7777 and ask for Operator 898