By Kenneth Harvey

Originally published on Advocate.com March 11 2010 7:10 PM ET

Mayor Annise Parker's election late last year has helped the city's
advertising campaign succeed. The campaign features "My Gay Houston"
ads that have helped transform the city into an LGBT hot spot.

According to Edge, the campaign was in the making for several years and the ads feature gay Houstonians in print advertisements
and on a web site.
 


"We’re proud of what our city
offers in arts, sports with our food scene and retail. We can back up
our destination against anybody else’s,"
said Greg Ortale, CEO of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The gay community in Houston has
always been a fairly significant population. When
people come here to visit, I think they found that out and quite often
I think that was a surprise.
"
 
Edge also spoke with

Jeff Vasser, president of the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors Authority, about how his city is revamping efforts to market to the LGBT community.
 


"We’ve always been a very open
and welcoming community," Vasser said. "I think you have to have that
to start with. You can offer whatever amenities you want, but it won’t
work otherwise."


John Tanzella, CEO of the
International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, said any LGBT destination needs to make an effort to win over
the community and added that political victories do play a publicity role.

"You don’t have to
have a million gay bars to be a gay destination," Tanzella said. "I
think when [a destination] is in the media and grabs people’s attention
for political reasons, it brings home their point of being ’gay
friendly’ and people will think about it. And if that destination is
actually doing marketing to gay travelers, it can very easily then
become a destination they want to visit."