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San Francisco was named the top ''gay-friendly'' destination in a new survey of gay travelers conducted by the Travel Industry Association. Following San Francisco on the list's top 10 were Key West, Fla.; New York City; Fire Island, which is part of Long Island in New York; Provincetown, Mass.; Los Angeles; Miami-South Beach, Fla.; Las Vegas; New Orleans; and Palm Springs-Palm Desert, Calif.
The national survey was conducted by the Travel Industry Association in partnership with Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications.
Nearly half of gay and lesbian travelers said that whether a destination has a ''gay-friendly'' reputation matters when they are making leisure travel choices. A place where ''they can hold their partner's hand in public'' without fear of harassment was cited as an example of something that more than half of gay men and more than two thirds of gay women look for when they are choosing a destination, according to the survey.
Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications, said the survey showed that gay and lesbian travelers are not looking for special treatment but are simply ''expecting consideration and equal respect given all customers.''
Four out of 10 gay and lesbian travelers also said they consider a destination gay-friendly if it ''is known to be culturally welcoming and to support diversity'' and gay rights. Only a third of gay men and 18% of lesbians cited ''gay nightlife, gay clubs and bars'' among their top considerations for gay-friendliness.
The national online survey was conducted among 2,020 self-identified gay travelers 21 and older who have taken at least one leisure trip within the past 12 months. The survey also polled 1,010 adults who self-identified as heterosexual and who also have taken at least one leisure trip in the past year.
The heterosexual travelers were included as a way to compare the two groups. The survey found, for example, that gay men tend to spend more on trips than lesbians and heterosexuals. (AP)