In Down Economy, Cities Reach Out to Gay Tourists

<b>In Down Economy, Cities Reach Out to Gay Tourists</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As a stagnant economy has many Americans rethinking travel plans, cities are marketing to new travel demographics — including gay and lesbian tourists.

Unlike other travel brackets, gay travel has remained steady despite the economic recession. Gay and lesbian couples travel more often and spend more money while on vacation than straight couples. According to a 2006 study conduced by the U.S. Travel Association, gay men spend about $800 per trip. Straight men spend $540.

Cities are heeding the trend. In 2003, Philadelphia launched its $300,000 a year “Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay” marketing campaign. Now, the city ranks as America’s 13th largest gay and lesbian travel destination. Southwest Airlines is currently working with the city to attract even more gay and lesbian visitors.

In addition to Philadelphia, Miami, with its historic art deco hotels, beaches and happening nightlife, continues to draw gay and lesbian vacationers. But as the gay tourism market becomes more competitive, the city is working to draw new visitors. In April 2009, the city held a Gay Pride Festival to celebrate gender rights and sexual equality. Twenty thousand visitors showed up to enjoy a parade and the Miami Gay Men’s Chorus and to wave rainbow-colored flags.

“In the past few years, other cities like Key West have cut into Miami’s gay tourism,” says Frederic S. Richardson, CEO of MOD Hospitality (www.eastcoastventures.com), which owns the Astor and Clinton hotels — two of the top-ranked hotels in South Beach. “It’s time that Miami reasserts itself as one of the gay cultural centers of the world.”

Chicago, which hosted the 2006 Gay Games — a quadrennial athletic and cultural event — continues to pursue gay and lesbian tourists. The Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau writes a quarterly newsletter directed toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travelers, and plans to host an International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association board meeting.

“Chicago, frankly, is just now catching up to other cities who have been aggressively wooing the pink dollar,” said Mark Theis, executive vice president of the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau, in an interview with the the Chicago Tribune. “We want people to know how gay-friendly we are and the wealth of attractive assets we have.”

South Beach: A Tropical Location Close to Home

<b>South Beach: A Tropical Location Close to Home</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans who want to plan a tropical beach vacation without traveling beyond the continental U.S. should set their sights on Miami. The city’s multi-cultural flair, superb beaches and lively nightspots satisfy everyone from art buffs to water sports enthusiasts to partiers.

Miami’s South Beach provides the best mix of beach, culture and entertainment. Historic Art Deco boutique hotels line the boardwalk. For a truly deluxe experience, check out The Hotel Clinton South Beach on Washington Avenue. The ultra-contemporary hotel houses a full spa and 88 sleekly styled rooms with smooth carpeting and elegant, white accents.

After relaxing in the hotel’s pool or optional in-room spa, guests who step outside can find world-class clubs, shopping and restaurants. South Beach, or the “America Riviera,” headquarters the U.S. Latin music industry and offers a sizzling nightlife scene. More than 200 restaurants and upscale shopping — think Armani, Kenneth Cole and Versace — leave no visitor unsatisfied.

The beach itself is a long, white stretch of warm sand and blue water — perfect for sunbathing or a game of beach volleyball. Those with a taste for adventure can rent Jet-skis at the Miami Beach marina or visit the South Beach Dive and Surf Center, located across the street from the Clinton, to plan scuba, surf and snorkeling excursions.

If even a beach this lovely can wear thin, guests should explore South Beach’s cultural destinations. The Wolfsonian Museum houses modern art objects dated from 1885 to 1945, while the Bass Museum exhibits everything from 16th-century Flemish tapestries to contemporary conceptual art.

Of course, no visit to Miami would be complete without a taste of the city’s vibrant nightlife. From popular clubs like Mansion, Prive, Glass, Bed and Opium Garden, to more intimate, but no less chic destinations like the Rose Bar, Social, Sky Bar and the Roof Top at Town House, visitors and celebrities alike can enjoy one of the world’s hottest clubbing destinations.

For more information, visit www.clintonsouthbeach.com.

Miami Turns Up the Heat for a Celebrity-Style Vacation Destination

<b>Miami Turns Up the Heat for a Celebrity-Style Vacation Destination</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Travelers looking for luxe, hip beach destinations have to look no further than Miami’s South Beach, where top celebrities, models and fashion photographers unwind after the sun goes down.

South Beach is famous for its superb beaches, mouth-watering cuisine and infinite celebrity hot spots. One such hot spot is the Maison d’Azur Restaurant at Hotel Astor on South Beach. The French restaurant’s Mediterranean-style decor and candle-lit garden set the tone for a splendid evening and is ideal for both large groups and intimate occasions.

Start the evening off with drinks and caviar sliders — a decadent twist on a standard appetizer — then choose a fresh seafood entrée. Maison d’Azur’s “Market,” located right in front of its open kitchen, allows diners to choose the fish they want prepared. The ratatouille provides a flavorful, yet light, side. For dessert, don’t miss the créme brûlée. Served with shaved lemon ice, the creamy, sweet indulgence is one of the best you’ll find this side of the Atlantic.

On Saturdays, the Maison d’Azur offers a deejayed brunch starting at noon. With bellinis and fresh French-style pastries served on a jasmine-scented patio, there’s no better way to start off your Saturday.

The restaurant also provides ample celebrity-spotting. Fran Drescher and Gloria Estefan have dined at the Maison d’Azur, as have Stefan Fortier and various socialites.

Layla Lounge, also located at the historical 1936 Hotel Astor, brings Moroccan flair to South Beach. The sensuality and warmth of Layla will make you feel temporarily transported to a North African jungle surrounded by resplendent cocktails and a charming garden annex with jasmine trees and bamboo walls.

Cuisine and celebrities aren’t the only things happening on Miami Beach. Step outside the Hotel Astor, and you’ll find yourself in the Art Deco Historic District. Spend an afternoon strolling down Lincoln Road Mall and Espanola Way to browse the many galleries displaying exciting work from contemporary artists, or get tickets to a show at the historic Filmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater.

For more information, visit www.hotelastor.com or find other great MOD Hospitality locations at www.eastcoastventures.com.

Hospitality Industry Takes a Hit, Investors Take Interest

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As the real estate market has fallen, more developers have become interested in purchasing bottom-dollar homes to resell when the market recovers. In a similar vein, some businesses are now purchasing hotels.

One such investment and real estate company, MOD Hospitality, has taken advantage of falling real estate values to buy high-quality hotels and restaurants in strong markets.

“The hospitality industry, as a whole, is taking a beating,” says MOD Hospitality President Frederic S. Richardson. “It’s the perfect opportunity for wily investors to make a profit.”

The company plans to hold and manage the properties for three to five years, or until the value of their investment matures. They recognize that professional property management is crucial, and they only use local property management firms because they know the markets where the properties appeal. Complete operating results are provided to promote investor confidence.

So far, the company has obtained hotel properties in different markets, ranging from boutique hotels to high-quality hotel chain franchises, including a Holiday Inn Express and The Fairfield Inn by Marriott.

More prestigious properties include the New Clinton Hotel, a boutique acquisition located in the heart of South Beach, Miami, Fla. Situated on Washington Avenue, the hotel is surrounded by diverse restaurants, trendy shops and lively bars. Also located in Miami Beach, the The Hotel Astor Miami Beach is a luxury boutique hotel with Art Deco flair. The hotel and its new Maison d’Azur Restaurant are favorite destinations for celebrities, artists and fashion photographers, as well as business executives.

While the economic downturn strains the hospitality industry, hotels and restaurants seem ripe for investment. In using a company such as MOD Hospitality, which carefully researches potential properties and expertly handles their management, investors are able to benefit from the hospitality industry while taking less risk.

For more information, visit www.eastcoastventures.com. MOD Hospitality trades on the OTC.BB under the symbol MODY.OB.