The Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA), the nation's largest LGBT Chamber of Commerce, has launched Travel Gay Seattle – Where OUT is IN, an inbound travel portal designed to reach and attract LGBT visitors to Seattle.
Travel Gay Seattle, www.thegsba.org/travel, is a resource for travelers looking to "Get Here," "Stay Here" and "Play Here," offering a portal through which travelers can book their plane or train tickets and hotel stay, as well as find restaurants, shopping, unique neighborhoods and Seattle-centric activities. The website also includes a travel blog which provides local insight, reviews, photos and tips for discovering the local urban flavor that Seattle offers.
"Seattle is a great, welcoming and open community," said Louise Chernin, GSBA Executive Director. "There's an untapped opportunity for LGBT travelers to come and enjoy Seattle like current residents do. We're excited to showcase our city to the greater gay community."
To launch Travel Gay Seattle, GSBA has partnered with Seattle-based Alaska Airlines, a company with a reputation for flexibility and outstanding service, as well as an established reputation for LGBT-friendly travel. Additional support has come from the City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development and Sound Transit, a regional network of commuter rail, light rail, express buses, and local transit resources. Corporate sponsors include Sheraton Seattle Hotel, Amtrak and American Airlines. Visitors using the site are connected directly to online travel planning resources.
"We work hard to provide all our customers with genuine and caring service, and invite travelers to experience what we call 'Alaska Spirit'," said Glenn Johnson, Alaska Airlines' chief financial officer and executive vice president. "We are proud to partner with the GSBA and others to showcase the hospitality and diversity you'll find in our hometown."
Travel Gay Seattle has been largely supported by grants from the City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development.
"From the beginning, the city saw the value in what we are trying to accomplish, they have been great partners throughout the development of this portal," said Jerome M. Bader, Director of Marketing.
While Seattle has the second-highest percentage of openly gay residents in the country, it wasn't until 2010 that Seattle broke into the top 10 LGBT travel destinations, according to the 2010 Community Marketing, Inc. survey, which has been measuring gay and lesbian travel for 14 years. Community Marketing Inc. is a leading gay and lesbian travel research firm which classified Seattle "a rising city" in popularity among LGBT travelers.
"Nearly 60 percent of gay and lesbian travelers already book the majority of their online travel arrangements directly on hotel or airline micro-sites. Travel Gay Seattle is a one-stop online shopping destination for travel planning," Bader said. "Seattle has so much to offer LGBT visitors, whether they are young adults, couples or families with children, Seattle abounds with urban sophistication, world class dining, unparalleled natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities easily accessible from the heart of the city. Seattle has it all, it's the place you want to be and Travel Gay Seattle can get you here."
About the Greater Seattle Business Association
The Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) has been the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) allied business and professional chamber of commerce since 1981. GSBA is the largest business chamber of its kind in the United States and was honored as 2008 Gay and Lesbian Chamber of the Year by the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. More than a chamber, GSBA is a vibrant community organization with a broad and diverse membership base. GSBA is widely known throughout the Puget Sound region for its annual Guide & Directory, which is distributed to 20,000 businesses, non-profits and individuals. In addition, the organization offers numerous networking opportunities throughout the year. GSBA's mission is to combine business development, social action and leadership to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT community and those who support equality for all. For more information about GSBA, visit www.thegsba.org.