New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is betting big on the future of tourism in the Big Apple and he is clearly hoping that the gay community will play a significant part in the realisation of his vision.

According to various published reports, the City of New York has just launched a $30 (£14.8m) million queer tourism campaign, which officially began with Out magazine’s recent Out 100 issue.

According to GFN.com, in October, the 11th Annual Gay Lesbian Travel Survey ranked the Big Apple as the No. 1 destination for US gay men (followed by Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles).

Mayor Bloomberg now apparently hopes to capitalise on that ranking to achieve his ultimate goal of attracting 50 million visitors to the Big Apple by 2015.

To this end the city’s tourism arm, NYC Company, took out a three-page ad in the December/January issue of Out magazine, and placed TV commercials on cable network LOGO.

NYC Company is also expected to make a substantial investment in the online gay community where internet ads on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender websites will be stepped up around Valentine’s Day 2008.

The city says the gay and lesbian demographic is key to the city’s tourism plays because of statistical evidence that plainly suggests that the LGBT community has a higher level of interest in travel and more discretionary income than its heterosexual counterpart.

Despite its aggressive nature however, the new gay NYC campaign is nothing new really.

It draws inspiration from similar campaigns that have produced wildly successful results in destinations including Philadelphia, Chicago and Phoenix.

That the Big Apple had not previously advertised to gays and lesbians “is obviously an omission that has hurt the city,” Christine Quinn, the City Council’s first openly gay speaker, told the networking group Out Professionals last week according to GFN.com.

“Tourism is money, and that’s a good thing so were working right now with NYC Company to fix that omission and come up with a good outreach plan, and we’d love for folks input and advice on that,” Quinn continued.

Duane Wells © 2007 GayWired; All Rights Reserved.