At Winspear, Dallas CVB reaches out to gay leaders

IMG_1939 rs
Phillip Jones speaks to leaders of the gay community at the Winspear this morning (photo by Armando Gonzales)

Journos don’t like to get up early, but this morning I slapped on a tie and trekked over to the Winspear Opera House for an 8 a.m. “LGBT Leadership Breakfast” with about 40 others from the community. The event, hosted by Dallas’ Conventions and Visitors Bureau, sought to reach out and enlist the local gay community in pressing for more business in Big D.

Ever since the opening the new Arts District,  Dallas as a city has been big on promoting itself as a world-class destination, but apparently that’s harder than we thought — especially in light of something that happened in another city.

“There are still challenges — the Rainbow Lounge incident did not help us, it hurt us a lot,” said Chris Heinbaugh, the gay chief of staff for Mayor Tom Leppert, noting that several conventions that had been booked canceled as a result of the raid and its aftermath.

CVB chief Phillip Jones echoed that observation (often, he said, people from out of town assume Dallas-Fort Worth is one big city), but also touted the 32 LGBT conventions that had been here in the past few years, generating $37 million in economic impact. CeCe Cox, one of the attendees, also brought up the Creating Change conference that starts next week, and is the largest of its kind yet.

Other factors are harder to control than the response to the Rainbow Lounge, such as the GALA Choruses using the excuse “Dallas is too hot in the summer” for not bringing their event here, and going instead to Denver. And Heinbaugh probably got the best line of the morning when he mentioned that The Advocate had recently listed the top 20 gay cities, and Dallas wasn’t on the list… but Austin was.

“Austin? Really?! It’s a great city,” he said, “but we’re WAY gayer than them.”

Gayer indeed.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas moves up in gay tourism rankings

Dallas has moved up two spots in the rankings and is now in a three-way tie as the 16th-most popular destination for LGBT travelers, according to the newly released 14th annual Gay & Lesbian Tourism Study by Community Marketing Inc. Dallas was alone at No. 18 last year. This year’s rankings show that 11 percent of the 4,726 LGBT people surveyed in the U.S. had traveled to Dallas in the last year and spent at least one night in a hotel. This tied Dallas with Denver and Phoenix at No. 16, and put us immediately behind Miami and Atlanta and immediately ahead of New Orleans. New York took the No. 1 spot at 32 percent, followed by San Francisco at 27 percent, Las Vegas at 26 percent, Chicago at 25 percent and Los Angeles/West Hollywood at 24 percent. Here are a few other trends from this year’s report:

1) Due to the deep recession, almost all destinations experienced a decrease in LGBT travel, except Washington D.C., which garnered higher numbers.
2) The rankings remain remarkably consistent from past years. A few destinations such as Seattle, however, did jump up in rankings.
3) The top seven LGBT destinations experienced the least decline in LGBT visitors, while other destinations experienced larger declines.
4) Overall, leisure travel declined slightly among LGBT travelers, but business travel and cruise travel saw steeper drop-offs.

—  John Wright

Readers Voice Awards – Travel


RIGHT AT HOME: Owner Wayne Falcone polished a gem of Oak Lawn history by rescuing and reinventing the Daisy Polk House. – DANIEL A. KUSNER/Dallas Voice

BEST BED AND BREAKFAST


Daisy Polk Inn
2917 Reagan St., Dallas.
214-522-4692
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Daisy Suite and Reagan Suite: $150 a night.
Dickason Suite: $129 a night.
DaisyPolkInn.com

The Daisy Polk Inn is every bit the grand dame that its namesake was. Built in 1904 and fully restored by 2002, the home was first owned by, who else, Daisy Polk — an “up and coming” star (according to the Dallas Press) of the Dallas opera scene who also taught at Hockaday School for Girls and passed away in 1980.

She lived at the Reagan Street address for 60 years. The gorgeous arts and crafts home now belongs to local pharmacist Wayne Falcone, who purchased the property in 1996. He lovingly restored it to its natural and historically correct beauty with the help of Dallas antiques expert and interior designer Gerald Tomlin.

Once the home was granted historical status and licensure to become a bed and breakfast, Falcone decided to open its doors to the public.

Guests can rent any one of the three rooms or the whole place if they prefer. Unlike typical B&Bs. Falcone turns over the keys to his guests, and they have the place to themselves until morning, when breakfast is served. And breakfast at the Daisy Polk Inn is no simple affair. From the china to the home-baked goodies, it is a lavish meal that guests won’t soon forget.

— Jenny Block

 



BEST ROMANTIC GETAWAY
New Orleans, La.
Convention and Visitor’s Bureau:
NewOrleansCVB.com
Visitor’s bureau LGBT focus:
NewOrleansOnline GLBT

 

A little more than two years ago, most of America seemed to have written off New Orleans — it was destined to become a modern-day Atlantis, swallowed up by the sea and passed away into legend.

But the residents of the Crescent City would have none of that. They persevered, rehabilitating the city as quickly as possible and welcoming back tourists — especially gay tourists — with enthusiasm. (It helps that the French Quarter, the center of gay life, is above sea-level and was largely spared when the levees broke.)

Certainly bachelor revelers into great partying and easy hookups don’t have to find a reason to frequent the Big Easy other than Mardi Gras and Southern Decadence, but the city’s old antebellum charm makes it a romantic getaway for couples, too.

For exploring together, there’s the fabulous architecture, much of it spared from the hurricane: elaborate wrought iron, ethereal churches, sprawling plantations on the outskirts (including one, Houmas House, where “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte” was filmed).

Then there’s the food, an essential component whenever lovers get together. Creole and Cajun cuisine, from rich cream sauces to spices that can shoot steam from your ears, dominate, but the French influences extend all the way to the café au lait and beignets. And is there anything more romantic than a boat ride along the Mighty Mississip?

So yes, New Orleans is a great party town for solos, but we love to go there as pairs. After all, even couples know how to party.

— Arnold Wayne Jones

 


BEST AIRLINE
American Airlines
Corporate headquarters: 4333 Amon Carter Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas.
817-963-1234, 800-321-2121
Mon.-Sat. 24 hrs.
aa.com or American Airlines Rainbow

 


BEST NATIONAL ONLINE TRAVEL SITE
Travelocity
Corporate headquarters: 3150 Sabre Drive, Southlake, Texas.
888-872-8356
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Travelocity.com

BEST LOCAL ONLINE TRAVEL SITE
Best Gay Cruises
P.O. Box 59994, Dallas.
972-241-2000
Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
BestGayCruises.com


BEST BUDGET HOTEL CHAIN
La Quinta
Corporate headquarters: 909 Hidden Ridge, Suite 600, Irving, Texas.
800-642-4271
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
LQ.com


BEST LUXURY HOTEL CHAIN
Hilton Hotels
Eight hotels in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
800-774-1500
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
Hilton.com


BEST DALLAS HOTEL
W Dallas-Victory
2440 Victory Park Lane, Dallas.
888-625-5144
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
WHotels.com/Dallas


BEST AIRPORT SHUTTLE SERVICE
SuperShuttle
SuperShuttle local office: 3010 N. Airfield Drive, Suite 100, DFW Airport, Texas.
With service to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas Love Field and Fort Worth Meacham International Airport.
800-258-3826
Sun.-Sat. 24 hrs.
SuperShuttle.com

BEST WEEKEND GETAWAY
Rainbow Ranch
1662 Limestone County Road 800, Groesbeck, Texas.
888-875-7596
Sun.-Thu. 8 a.m.-8 p.m.,
Fri.-Sat. 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
RainbowRanch.net

BEST LOCAL TOURIST DESTINATION
Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza
411 Elm St., Suite 120.
214-747-6660
Tue.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.,
Mon. noon-6 p.m.
JFK.org

BEST LOCAL TOURIST TRAP
West End Historical District
214-741-7180
DallasWestEnd.org

BEST VACATION SPOT TO GET LAID
Palm Springs, Calif.
Palm Springs tourism bureau:
Palm-Springs.org


BEST EXOTIC DESTINATION
Hawaii
Official tourism site: GoHawaii.com

‘GET ME OUT OF HERE!’ DESTINATION
Jamaica
Visitor Web site: ComeToJamaica.com

These articles appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 21, 2008

—  admin