New York city is stepping up its efforts to attract gay and lesbian tourists.

A marketing campaign titled The Rainbow Pilgrimage was unveiled yesterday in the city, which is aiming to retain its position as the top destination for pink tourism.

Last year, an estimated 47 million people visited New York, accounting for £30 billion in spending. Gay and lesbian vistors made up around ten per cent of these figures.

The city will be advertised in gay publications, bus shelters and on street banners.

Officials said they would seek to portray the city as a “rite of passage” for gay travellers.

The campaign is using the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in June as a means of publicising tourism in the city.

Openly gay City Council speaker Christine Quinn, who announced the new marketing move, said she felt it significant to use such as event to promote tourism.

At a news conference, she said: “

“I don’t think it’s ironic, I think it’s significant. You know, 40 years ago a group of people said enough was enough. And they struck back against police officers. They struck back against unfair treatment.”

“And it created the modern LGBT civil rights movement.”

In December 2007, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg said he had a target of 50 million gay and lesbian visitors to visit the city by 2015.