WANTED: GAY TOURISTS

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SYDNEY-Australia's lucrative gay and lesbian vacation market will be wooed for the first time next month by the New Zealand Tourism Promotion Board in a series of newspaper and magazine ads.

The campaign, handled in-house, will feature a gay couple, Andrew Stevens and Brian Barron, chosen at random from a tourist board survey done at last October's Gay & Lesbian Travel Expo.

At the show, the board was encouraged to pursue this new market after it saw the large, 1,000-person response to the survey, said Linda Fleet, marketing manager of the board.

In the survey, the board found two main groups to target among gays: young adventurers and the 35-plus set who are interested in art, architecture and wineries.

Spending is estimated at less than $50,000 for the campaign, which will enjoy a limited run in Australia's gay and lesbian press.

Research undertaken by Sydney marketing consultancy Significant Others indicates that 10% of Australia's population is gay, and that its gay and lesbian population travels frequently and has a higher disposable income than average. The total value of the local gay market is about $30 billion, based upon personal income.

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