Atlantic City courting gay tourism market

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm •  Published: June 17, 2014
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The mayor also dedicated a gay-friendly beach in Atlantic City at Park Place near Bally's, but says the entire city is gay-friendly.

The resort is trying to broaden its appeal beyond a gambling mecca by emphasizing restaurants, shops, nightclubs, spas and other attractions.

The Atlantic City Alliance, which markets the resort, recently commissioned a study of the gay travel market in New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.

It found that the primary reason gays visit Atlantic City is because it is easy to get to and has entertainment options. Only 21 percent named gambling as a primary reason to visit.

About 15 percent said they planned to spend $500 or more on gambling, with two thirds placing a $200 limit on their bets.

The survey also found that Atlantic City is not viewed as being especially gay-friendly, with only a quarter of respondents finding the destination somewhat or very LGBT-friendly. Among the eight Mid-Atlantic tourism destinations tested, Atlantic City scored lowest for a perception of being LGBT-friendly.

Brad Hurtado, executive producer of Sand Blast, said events like his are needed to make gays feel more at home in Atlantic City.

"Gay tourism and gay events transform communities, and they bring repeat visitors each year," he said.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC