Travel & Outdoors | August 2007
|"Gay Mexico City is Coming of Age"|
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Global Gay and Lesbian Tourism is booming and now the city authorities of Mexico City have finally discovered the growing importance of this market segment. Matt Skallerud, President of IGLTA, was in Mexico last week, signing an agreement (a "Strategic Alliance") with Alejandra Barrales, Minister of Tourism in the Federal District (Mexico City). IGLTA is the world's leading travel trade association committed to gay and lesbian tourism. Lars Ivar Owesen-Lein Borge, general director of Enkidu Magazine interviewed Matt Skallerud about Mexico City as a gay-friendly destination and the future of the Pink Market in general.
|Matt Skallerud President of IGLTA|
LIOWLB: What are, in your opinion, the advantages of Mexico City as a tourist destination?
MS: Mexico City is one of the few cities in North and South America with a strong European flavor... Of course more on the Spanish side of European culture, but European nonetheless. The only other city I find with such dynamism is Buenos Aires. With that culture comes some of the best restaurants, museums, nightlife and more one would come to expect from a first class city.
LIOWLB:. Do you perceive of Mexico City as a gay-friendly destination?
MS: Yes, I do.
MS: It seems that Mexico City is coming of age, so to speak, in terms of its acceptance of gays and lesbians. I do understand from talking with locals that outside of the Zona Rosa most gay people are still hesitant to hold hands in public, etc., but in general, that's the way life is in most cities in North and South America as well. Also, the number of gay establishments available to gays & lesbians, as well as a growing local GLBT business networking climate, seems to indicate that Mexico City is definitely on a strong path towards greater acceptance of gays & lesbians and thus a more and more welcoming gay friendly destination.
LIOWLB:. How long have you stayed in Mexico City, and what are your impressions of the city?
MS: I stayed a week, and the last time I was in the city was 14 years ago. Gay life has grown a lot in those 14 years.
LIOWLB:. Have you had any opportunity to experience the gay scene of the city? What were your impressions?
MS: I thought it was fantastic. There was a different scene every night of the week... Something to be expected in a city so large, vibrant and dynamic.
LIOWLB:.. You are a highly successful pioneer in the development of internet sites focusing on the gay & lesbian market segment, and we would therefore like to ask you how do you perceive the future of the global "pink market" in general? How do you think the gay and lesbian market will develop in the future?
MS: Yes, absolutely. Once a market can be defined and established by any media, be that television, print or Internet, there will always be more and more pioneering companies seeking to reach that market through these media.
LIOWLB:. What are the characteristics of the gay and lesbian consumer community today? What makes this consumer community "different" from straight consumers?
MS: I've heard this said many times during my stay in Mexico City - "Straight by Day, Gay by Night". It's cute. But it shows what we all know... That gay & lesbian travelers are as diverse as any other traveler. Some wish to go to museums... Others to beaches... Others perhaps come to go shopping. The one thing we all have in common is the social side of our character, which happens to be gay in this case. So we enjoy socializing and meeting other gay people, whether that is in a restaurant, a bar or any other GLBT social setting.
LIOWLB:. Mexican companies are still extremely hesitant to advertise and participate both in the local Diversity Press as well as in Community events like the Pride Parade. What is your advise to Mexican companies that consider approaching this market segment, but still have not taken the step?
MS: They will usually be hesitant because they are concerned about possible backlash by more conservative segments of their consumer demographic. I think they'll find that although there could be some initial backlash, they will find that the positives of making outreach to the GLBT consumer (double income, no kids) will far outweigh any small negatives that the more conservative consumers may throw their way.
LIOWLB:. Will you come back to Mexico City to follow up to the recent agreement with the city authorities?
MS: I would like to come back before Christmas for sure... Just trying to pick the right dates.
LIOWLB:. Thank you very much.