News & Politics
Fort Lauderdale The LGBTQ Destination
Richard Gray, Vice President of LGBT+ Marketing for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau talks about their enormously successful marketing efforts that have made Fort Lauderdale such a desirable LGBTQ destination with Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™. Since 1995 Gray’s pioneering efforts have brought 1.5 million LGBTQ travelers to Fort Lauderdale every year boosting their local economy to the tune of 1.5 billion dollars. Five years ago Greater Fort Lauderdale became the only convention and visitors bureau tourist board in the world to have a designated department whose sole responsibility is to develop and grow LGBTQ tourism. Now with their new groundbreaking global marketing and advertising video “LGBTQI Warm Welcome - Where We're All Greater Together” Fort Lauderdale has added the world’s first campaign where transgender models appear mainstream showcasing the destination’s image as an authentic, diverse and inclusive city where everyone is welcomed. We talked to Richard about what he would like to accomplish with his work and his spin on our LGBTQ issues.
When asked how he sees our LGBTQ community moving forward in this Trump administration Gray stated, “Well it’s challenging. What we’re doing and how we’re addressing it as a destination is we are sharpening our marketing tools even more. We want to tell everybody around the world that Greater Fort Lauderdale is a destination that welcomes everybody. As I said before, irrespective of the color of your skin, irrespective of your religion, irrespective of who you love we welcome you with open arms and that is what we’re doing currently. We’re pushing the envelope, we’re making our marketing tools more cosmopolitan, more edgy and we’re making ourselves stand out in this conservative state that we live in.”
Richard Gray was born in London, England and moved to New York in 1982 as an investment banker. In 1991 he made Fort Lauderdale his home when he created the acclaimed Royal Palms Resort. In 1995 he developed the Greater Fort Lauderdale’s highly successful LGBTQ marketing initiative. An inductee in the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Associations Hall of Fame, a Fort Lauderdale Home Town Hero and a recipient of the LGBTQ Award for Achievement from MTV/Logo, Richard is passionate about all aspects of travel. Richard is a Board Member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association and sits on the Advisory Board of the LGBT Meeting Planners Association. Richard was recently named as one of the most influential people in the meetings industry and Q. Digital gave Richard an honorary award for his commitment to Transgender tourism.
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