Tourism operators to be offered gay-friendly awareness course

Mike Carson
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P.E.I. Gay Tourism Association

The P.E.I. Gay Tourism Association will be working with the Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island to offer gay-friendly sessions across the province.

"It's the opportunity to offer a diversity training session for Island businesses that feel that they could benefit from having some training for either themselves or their staff in the area of dealing with the gay tourism market," said Bill Kendrick, president of the Gay Tourism Association.

He said the association is made up of a number of different tourism operators across the lsland and has been working to develop a training module.

Kendrick said they would most likely use a module created by Travel Gay Canada and working with TIAPEI to deliver the training over the winter and into the spring, prior to the next tourism season.

"A lot of it is certainly awareness of the unique needs that come with serving the gay tourism market," he said. "Some individuals working in tourism might, themselves, be uncomfortable dealing with a gay couple coming to their establishment whether it be an accommodation or a retail operation or an attraction. They might not know exactly how to address gay couples."

He said the classic faux pas is somebody working on reservations and a couple arrives who have made a booking and the person on the desk asks if they want a room with two beds or separate rooms.

"Assuming that they are travelling as friends as opposed to a couple," he said.

The training that will be offered will help raise awareness to provide a knowledge base on things to say, how to treat people.

"Many say you just treat people the same," Kendrick said. "You treat them with courtesy and respect. The reality is for many people sometimes dealing with a gay couple, it may be the first time they've done it. They might feel uncomfortable. They don't want to say anything wrong and in the process do say something wrong."

"We're not suggesting that there is a problem at all within the industry on Prince Edward Island but as a industry association, the P.E.I. Gay Tourism Association has been working towards identifying Prince Edward Island as a gay-friendly or gay welcoming destination," Bill Kendrick, president of the Gay Tourism Association

The move by the association is to get the word out that P.E.I. is a gay-friendly travel destination.

"We're not suggesting that there is a problem at all within the industry on Prince Edward Island but as a industry association, the P.E.I. Gay Tourism Association has been working towards identifying Prince Edward Island as a gay-friendly or gay welcoming destination," he said. "We believe that we have many of things that gay tourists say they're looking for when they're travelling."

He said the surveys and research that has been done by Travel Gay Canada and other research groups have shown that gay travellers are interested in culinary experience, culture, heritage, beaches, and upscale accommodations.

"All of those things we have," Kendrick said. "We believe that P.E.I. could do more to identify itself as gay-welcoming and specifically market to that market."

He said it is important to make sure the industry is prepared to welcome more gay travellers.

Globally the gay travel market is a multi-billion industry, Kendrick said.

"It's difficult to get a handle on the potential market form for P.E.I. but certainly with Canada it's a multi-million dollar industry and potentially in the hundreds of millions within North America," he said. "It's not a huge market from an individual standpoint, necessarily but it is certainly a large market from an economic standpoint."

 

Twitter.com/PEIGuardian

 

Organizations: P.E.I. Gay Tourism Association, Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada, North America

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Recent comments

  • Soulka
    September 04, 2012 - 21:15

    This is good. I hope see you in soulka.com sharing travel experiencies!

  • TO EVERYONE
    September 02, 2012 - 10:57

    The article states that they want all Island busunesses to be polite and courteous to gays. Well lets take this one step further. I am not gay and have lived on this island many years and have seldom seen polite or courteous service from the business community to anyone. Lets make it courteous and polite service for everyone. Wouldn't that be different?

  • Gerard
    September 01, 2012 - 09:19

    Do not DISPAIR Robert Henderson, When you teach Tourism Operators how to welcome Gay Friendly tourists the Island will be full of Gay's and Lesbien's.

  • Bill Kays
    Bill Kays
    September 01, 2012 - 09:14

    Over concentrating on tourism is a fatal mistake. I agree with "my opinion". I don't understand why anyone needs special treatment for a chosen life style, skin color, race, or what have you. We are all the same, remove the labels from everything but put them (the labels) on the GMO foods. I think marketing our Island as "whatever" friendly is a mistake. We never had to market our Island when I was a young fellow. Now that government has chosen tourism over agriculture and fishing as their main focus of course we see all 3 sectors failing. That is because no matter what government tries to do it cannot get out of its own way due to its enormous size. Cut the size of government until it is once again manageable.

  • Just Sayin
    September 01, 2012 - 06:59

    There are already signs at PEI motels saying "motorcyclist welcome" now we need signs saying "gays welcome", "blacks welcome" etc. Come on tourism whoever you are, Just put a sign out saying WELCOME and treat everyone the same. No wonder tourism is down.

  • common sense
    August 31, 2012 - 21:29

    Treat two men or two women in the same exact manner as you would treat a heterosexual couple in front of your desk.. The same simple questions in a respectful, discreet, and professional manner as you treat everyone else. Everyone deserves the same respect, professionalism, and courtesy...

    • PEI A MECCA FOR GAYS-LOL
      September 01, 2012 - 08:06

      OH, GIVE US A BREAK. Just because YOU'RE HOMOSEXUAL Or LESBIAN YOU THINK THAT YOU DESERVE ": SPECIAL ATTENTION?" Get Real. #1 We Islanders DON'T want P.E.I to be a Gay, Homosexual-Lesbian Mecca. Just as Hetrosexuals do, sign in to a Hotel-Motel-Cottage-or Camp Ground and SHUT UP. Who gives a crap whether YOU Are Straight or Gay, I don't and neither do the rest of WE Islanders. *** STOP TRYING TO MAKE-TO MARKET OUR PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND AS A "GAY'S" MECCA, BECAUSE IT IS 'NOT,' And Never Will Be! Got It?

    • TO PEI A MECCA FOR GAYS-LOL
      September 01, 2012 - 11:11

      Well, I was not certain your argument had any merit, but then I noticed how you used so many capital letters to shout out and hammer down your point. So, I guess you must be right.

    • To PEI A MECCA FOR GAYS
      September 03, 2012 - 14:31

      If you had actually read the article you would have noticed that no one is asking for "special treatment'. They are asking for equal treatment, equal rights, and they deserve them. This is an article about an organization offering a service that will help (hopefully) to increase tourism to this island. Why do you have a problem with that?

  • my opinion
    August 31, 2012 - 12:57

    not sure why the gay people need special care as the tourist operators should be kind and courteous regardless of who or what their guests preferences are. Common sense tells us to be polite. What two people do behind closed doors should never enter into it. That being said, I for one would not want to stay in a place filled with gays if I had my children travelling with me as I do believe that it sends the wrong message to small children, to have two men or two women touching or kissing in public, something that seems to be acceptable now a days. Not even acceptable behaviour in public regardless of sexual orientation. Only my opinion bur I do spend money on the gentle island and if it is overrun with gays, I for one will travel elsewhere in future.

    • NOT A BIGOT, JUST DON'T WANT TO BE AROUND BLACK PEOPLE
      August 31, 2012 - 16:51

      not sure why the black people need special care as the tourist operators should be kind and courteous regardless of who or what their guests preferences are. Common sense tells us to be polite. What two people do behind closed doors should never enter into it. That being said, I for one would not want to stay in a place filled with blacks if I had my children travelling with me as I do believe that it sends the wrong message to small children, to have two blacks touching or kissing in public, something that seems to be acceptable now a days. Not even acceptable behaviour in public regardless of skin colour. Only my opinion bur I do spend money on the gentle island and if it is overrun with blacks, I for one will travel elsewhere in future.

    • ho ho ho
      August 31, 2012 - 21:45

      I love the parody posted by Not a Bigot.. We could be changing the 'gays' word to blue-eyed women or fat men or brown dogs or pink elephants or young people with glasses or old people with fat bellies. I am going out tomorrow to stand on a corner to see how the province is overrun by gays.....wait a minute....how would I know if they are gay or not? Is it because they will be kissing and touching in public? Really! Some people work so hard at making idiotic statements. It wasn't that long ago a couple was refused shelter is Stratford because they were gay. Get over it people. It is none of your business what people do behind closed doors. You would be hard pressed to find a gentler group of men than those who live in a loving relationship with their gay partners. That's the truth.

    • Public Policy Shift Needed
      September 01, 2012 - 11:28

      The Island should be a kid free zone. No children permitted in public areas. Sure, if people want to have them in the privacy of their own homes, fine, that's their business. But, why should we cater to this special interest group? Let's face it, there's no value added to children - they're noisy, don't pay taxes, often speak without thinking and sometimes the really small ones even stink - bad. This one simple policy shift would really make it: The Gentle Island.

  • dm
    August 31, 2012 - 12:48

    they say it's one third of the market so they would be dumb to ignore it right, which they have done a good job of so far

  • Wellaisle B
    August 31, 2012 - 11:38

    This is good. I hope they do better at learning how to behave with so called 'fringe' markets than they have with locals and other Maritime visitors. I personally see no difference in the gay community or ethnic or any other community, so for me it is a no-brainer. Money is money. However...nNo one from 'here' can afford the prices in Cavendish, if, for example, they want to have a 'staycation'.. One area of tourism that could also be explored is that of the older woman. I have a lot of older women friends who like to travel in groups of 4-6 and find it difficult to get PEI places at reasonable prices. After all, pensions don't go as far as they used to and we are still alive and kicking! If ANY tourist operation offers a senior discount...they'd be overwhelmed by bookings and shoppers. Common sense goes a long way.