8 journalists from all over the world get a chance to experience gay life in Big D; project part of DCVB’s efforts to increase LGBT tourism
Travel writers from all over the world are raving about Dallas after the third annual press tour to promote the city as an LGBT destination.
A contingent of eight travel writers from five countries visited Dallas April 11-15 for the tour hosted by the Dallas Tavern Guild, the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, the North Texas GLBT Chamber of Commerce and others.
After arriving via American Airlines, a main sponsor of the event, the writers stayed at the Westin City Center and Warwick Melrose hotels. They visited numerous local restaurants, businesses and attractions, including the Sixth Floor Museum, NorthPark Mall, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Hotel Palomar, Oak Cliff’s Bishop Arts District, the West Village and the Cedar Springs strip.
They also received a visit from Dallas Mayor Laura Miller.
Jon Afalla, a staff writer for QVegas & OUT Las Vegas, called Dallas “wonderful.”
“The sights were impressive, the community was thriving and strong, and every restaurant we dined at and every hotel we viewed or stayed at was truly remarkable,” Afalla said. “Rest assured, I will have many great things to say about the city.”
Roy Heale, publisher of Outlooks Canada Magazine, said he was surprised by Dallas’ LGBT scene given the city is situated in the heart of what he called “Bush country.”
“The bars were so diversified and unique,” Heale said. “Plus, there were many more than I expected. I also noticed the exceptional gay-friendly welcome we received everywhere in Dallas and not just at the gay establishments.”
Adrian Gillan, a gay freelance journalist from the United Kingdom who writes for numerous media outlets, said Dallas’ main asset is its people, whom he called “flamboyant, friendly, direct and sexy.”
“And that amazing Texan accent,” Gillan said. “I was particularly struck by the wide variety of venues from the cruisy or clean-cut to “‘cowboy’ and the Cathedral of Hope; by the amount of gay sports and fundraising activity going on; and by how well-coordinated gay life is here, aided by such active organizations as the Dallas Tavern Guild. Beyond that, more generally, gay visitors can enjoy some of the finest cuisine, shopping and arts facilities anywhere in the U.S.”
Michael Doughman, executive director of the Tavern Guild, said the tour went smoothly and he could tell the writers were impressed.
“It’s probably going to be the broadest market that we’ve ever reached,” Doughman said.
Other writers on the tour were Darrio Kalve of Spain’s Horizon Barcelona; Jurgen Bieniek of Germany’s Spartacus Traveler; Albert Rodriguez of the Seattle Gay News; Kim Zonca of Go NYC Magazine; and Thom Nickels of Northstar Travel Media.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 20, 2007.