Efforts Being Made to Make Prince Edward Island Tourism More Gay-Friendly

By Bissett, Kevin | The Canadian Press, October 29, 2012 | Go to article overview

Efforts Being Made to Make Prince Edward Island Tourism More Gay-Friendly


Bissett, Kevin, The Canadian Press


P.E.I. tourism working to be gay-friendly

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Prince Edward Island is already considered an attractive tourist destination with its spectacular scenery, sandy beaches, challenging golf courses and friendly people. But tourism operators on "the gentle island" are also making an effort to get the message out that P.E.I. is gay-friendly.

"What we're trying to do is let travellers know that Prince Edward Island is gay welcoming and we have a lot of the things that the research indicates that gay travellers are seeking," said Bill Kendrick, chairman of the P.E.I. Gay Tourism Association.

He said gay travellers are looking for the same features in a destination as anyone else, plus a bit more.

"Gay travellers are looking to assure themselves that where they're going they'll feel comfortable, they're going to feel safe, and they're not going to feel uncomfortable when they book accommodations as a same-sex couple."

Kendrick said that can be as simple as not asking a same-sex couple if they want separate beds or separate rooms.

Vicki Francis, owner of the Cranford Inn in Charlottetown, said it's simply a matter of listing the room options as you would with any guest, and not making any assumptions.

"If you ask for the King suite, you don't want a staffer saying 'but that's just one bed'," said Francis. "You have to build that awareness.

"Even having pictures in the tourism guide that shows two men or two women builds awareness."

The P.E.I. Gay Tourism Association is working with the Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island and Travel Gay Canada to offer diversity training courses for tourism operators and their staff.

The effort goes beyond just trying to be accepting and politically correct. Kendrick said it's also good business because the gay travel market in Canada is significant.

He said research shows that gay travellers tend to travel more frequently, stay longer and spend more.

"On average the general population travels once or twice a year, while the gay travel market tends to travel three to five times a year," Kendrick said. "It makes sense to position yourself so you become a choice for that market.

"This is a niche market we think we can appeal to because we have a lot of the cultural, cuisine, the history, the beaches and all of the things that the research tells us gay travellers are looking for in a destination. …

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