The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is launching a pink campaign into the British market aimed at bringing in gay travelers. This PR launch comes in conjunction with Zoom Airlines beginning a new direct route from London to Fort Lauderdale twice weekly.
This push comes after Fort Lauderdale got a major black-eye from the extended battle between Mayor Jim Naugle and the LGBT community. After many bigoted tirades from Naugle about the gay community (including that they were predators, disease carriers, and chemically imbalanced, among other ridiculous things...), it seemed to many that Fort Lauderdale might fall off the list of top LGBT tourist destinations. There were calls for boycotts across the blogosphere and in major LGBT newspapers. The fight against Naugle gained international attention, with coverage in gay media across the globe, which only further tarnished Fort Lauderdale's reputation.
Some tourism industry watchers blame Naugle as part of the reason there has been a drop in tourism in South Florida. The Visitors Bureau has been working furiously to stop any major fall-out, launching campaigns in major LGBT magazines around the country and now starting this international push. But will it be enough?