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Las Vegas Now 'More' Open For Business

Las Vegas has stepped up its marketing efforts to attract gay and lesbian travelers from all over the world.

National television campaigns started earlier in the year that played off the “What happens here, stays here” mantra, and was given a boon with the appeals’ court decision to legalize gay marriage in Nevada in October.

Las Vegas positions itself as being open and welcoming to everyone. But the city isn’t known for being a gay destination, and doesn’t have the strong following of LGBT travelers such as San Francisco or Palm Springs.

LoAnn Halden, media director for the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, said that Las Vegas doesn’t need to compete with cities like that, because the Vegas experience is one that speaks for itself.

“You really have to play to your strengths,” Halden said. “The LGBT community recognizes what makes a destination special, so play up the entertainment and shows that you have to offer.”

Several major resorts in Las Vegas began hosting LGBT-specific events, such as pool parties and club nights, and are employing concierge staff who have a knowledge of resources available to the LGBT traveler.

Now that same sex marriage is legal in Nevada, marriage ceremonies available to gay couples may add to the appeal of Las Vegas as a leisure destination, but Vegas is still Vegas.

“There’s a little bit of a misconception that gay travelers want something completely different than straight travelers, and that’s just not true,” Halden said.

It doesn’t have the historical landmarks that have made other destinations as popular as they are within the gay community, but as long as couples feel safe being who they are, LGBT tourists will travel to Las Vegas for the same reason 40 million other travelers do.

GUEST

LoAnn Halden, media relations director, International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association
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