Gay tourists turned off British holidays by camp campaign

Gay tourists turned off British holidays by camp campaign

By Chris Hastings, Arts and Media Editor, Sunday Telegraph


It has "outed" a gay English king, highlighted male nudes in London's galleries, and even hired a model to dance through San Francisco clad only in leather shorts and a Busby - VisitBritain has certainly tried hard to persuade homosexual tourists to come to Britain.

Now the country's official tourism agency is rethinking its approach after its own research found many homosexual holidaymakers thought the advertising campaigns were camp and too obsessed with sex and stereotypes.

Overtly homosexual images are being phased out after focus groups in the United States, Germany and France said the Chelsea Flower Show and Crufts were a bigger draw than the country's homosexual scene.

Old posters which featured images of half-naked hunks, drag queens and "gay icons" like Kylie Minogue are being replaced with sophisticated, traditionally British images.

New advertising material will feature same-sex couples enjoying country walks or iconic British images such as a phone box or Buckingham Palace guards dressed in the rainbow colours of the Gay Pride movement.

The views of homosexuals in the key American market have been the driving force behind the new VisitBritain campaign. Volunteers at three specially convened focus groups in Chicago, New York and San Francisco took offence at the suggestion they were looking for a "sex vacation".

The research concluded: "Gays and lesbians are not going to Britain because they might see other gays and lesbians; their motivations and triggers are similar to those of other travellers.

"They consider Britain a sophisticated, wordly destination - and they want to see it portrayed as such. They do not want to see it presented in a cheesy way."

Americans questioned by VisitBritain said they were unimpressed by constant references to the UK's nightclubs for homosexuals and assurances that they would be able to meet like-minded people.

They also thought the campaigns directed at them were too obsessed with homosexual-friendly urban areas like Brighton and Manchester when they were more interested in beauty spots like the Lake District.

The research report said: "Participants told us they would like to take trips to Britain that explored such topics as plants, gardens, theatre, music, golf, Royal history and industrial heritage. Several said they would travel to Britain to attend special events such as the Chelsea Flower Show, the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh and the Crufts Dog show in Birmingham."

Adverts which featured pictures of topless men under Big Ben were deemed to be a turn-off as were the organisation's reliance on events such as Gay Pride. Some respondents said they were more likely to stay away to avoid such events.

One respondent said: "We have gone places where there weren't those kinds of things going on, to avoid gay crowds." Another said: "I live in New York City - I get enough gay events here".

Attracting homosexual visitors has become a priority for VisitBritain. Research has shown gay and lesbian communities in target countries have a higher propensity to travel and a higher than average income.

The changes have yet to hit VisitBritain's website which boasts: "Hell, we've even had a gay king [[King James I]] (or perhaps we should have called him Queen)".
Is the British public aware their country was being advertised, no matter how subliminally, as a sex vacation haven for gays? Looks like we need some public redress. Do they still have horses there trained in drawing and quartering?
I found it absolutely hillarious! LOL You get what you advertise for! LOL
Well, selfactivated, it is a sign of the times. A head scratcher for sure. How do you take a society seriously when items like this surface almost every day? The funny part is I'm sure the snooters who put together the campaign actually thought they were being sophisticated.
Well, THATS the hilarious part. Im Blonde AND a nutcase and I coulda forseen that one LOL........Do you know how small England is? LOL
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