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Travel Organizations to Welcome LGBTQ Travelers with New Inclusive Tourism Strategy in Northwestern Ontario

Superior Country and Tourism Thunder Bay, two regional organizations in northwestern Ontario, Canada, are making strides to position the region as a welcoming and inclusive destination for LGBTQ travelers.

Collaborating with Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC), which values the LGBTQ Canadian travel market at over CA$12 billion annually, the organizations have developed a new tourism strategy focusing on inclusivity as a critical component.

Paul Pepe, the manager of Tourism Thunder Bay, emphasized the importance of inclusivity, stating, “This really came about as a way to improve our reputation for being an inclusive destination, which isn’t just the ethically right thing to do, but it’s also good for business,”

The new strategy aims to ensure that businesses and attractions in the region are equipped with proper training to be inclusive to LGBTQ travelers and represent the LGBTQ community in their marketing materials.

This approach aligns with the CGLCC’s Rainbow Registered program, a national accreditation for LGBTQ-friendly businesses and organizations, which goes beyond displaying Pride flags or rainbow stickers to provide resources and training for better serving the LGBTQ community.

Loren Christie, the director of business development and strategy with the CGLCC, highlighted the potential of the LGBTQ travel market, stating that LGBTQ travelers spend an average of about CA$1,800 per trip, higher than most travelers.

Safety and security are paramount for LGBTQ travelers in choosing a destination; the new tourism strategy recognizes this. Dan Bevilacqua, the executive director of Superior Country, which covers areas around Thunder Bay, the Lake Superior north shore, and Greenstone, stated, “We need to ensure that our businesses and our attractions have the proper training in place to be inclusive to members of the community visiting — that is a very key component —and then in our own marketing pieces to ensure that we show representation of the [LGBTQ] community,”

The strategy also acknowledges that LGBTQ travelers are not solely interested in traditional LGBTQ hotspots like Toronto or Montreal but also crave outdoor adventures. Christie noted, “Not all people in our community only want to go to hotspots and go to Pride in Toronto or Montreal. That’s a one-off. People want outdoor experiences; they want adventure; they want to go hiking, fishing, camping. It’s not that our community is any different than the mainstream traveler, apart from the indication that they want to go somewhere safe. So I think it’s great that people are taking the time to showcase all the wonderful things that you’ve got up north.”

Superior Country and Tourism Thunder Bay’s new inclusive tourism strategy in northwestern Ontario aims to tap into the lucrative LGBTQ travel market by prioritizing inclusivity, safety, and outdoor experiences.

With support from the CGLCC and their Rainbow Registered program, the organizations are taking steps to make the region a sought-after destination for LGBTQ travelers who are looking for unique and welcoming experiences beyond the traditional LGBTQ hotspots. By providing proper training for businesses and attractions, representing the LGBTQ community in marketing materials, and prioritizing safety and security, the strategy aims to attract LGBTQ travelers who spend an average of $1,800 per trip and have unique interests in outdoor adventures, culinary experiences, festivals, historic sites, and water-based activities.

In addition to safety and inclusivity, the strategy also recognizes the unique interests of the LGBTQ community in outdoor experiences. Northwest Ontario’s abundant natural beauty, with its trails, nature reserves, beaches, and water-based activities, presents an opportunity to cater to this interest. By showcasing the region’s outdoor offerings, Superior Country and Tourism Thunder Bay hope to attract LGBTQ travelers seeking adventure, nature, and unique experiences.


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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Travel Organizations to Welcome LGBTQ Travelers with New Inclusive Tourism Strategy in Northwestern Ontario! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/canada/ontario/travel-organizations-to-welcome-lgbtq-travelers-with-new-inclusive-tourism-strategy-in-northwestern-ontario/