Pride Torbay organisers announce plans for huge festival in 2010

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Following on from the hugely successful inaugural event this year, Pride Torbay will return next June with an even more ambitious LGBT festival. The news comes on the back of delegates at the World Travel Market in London being told that gay and lesbian tourism is growing annually and that travel providers who don’t cater to the market will not capture this business.

Ian Johnson, founder of gay marketing consultancy Out Now told travel professionals at the conference that a staggering £4.7 billion was spent by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender market in the UK alone in 2007 (the last data collected) and that the figure was growing annually.

Ian Johnson said: “If you are a travel provider, you should be thinking hard about the fact that £47 million a year is spent on gay and lesbian honeymoons and that the buying power of the UK gay, lesbian and transgender market is £81 billion. You should be talking to these people and finding out how to access that. This market wants to get out and travel but they want to feel they are being looked after and not made to feel uncomfortable.”

In response to feedback from questionnaires carried out during the first Pride Torbay, which was held in July of this year, it has been decided that next year’s event will be held a month earlier when hotels and businesses are quieter. The festival will run from Friday 11th June to Sunday 13th June and will feature a central Saturday event held in Hollicombe Park as well as a “Rainbow Walk” to the site from Torquay Harbour.

Matt Newbury, Pride Torbay chairman said: “We didn’t think it would be sensible to do a big park party in the first year, so instead put together a programme of several smaller events, all of which were very well attended and many even selling out. This has given us the confidence to grow the event and with this in mind, we will have a fantastic Saturday afternoon event in Hollicombe Park, which is the perfect venue and even has access to a beach – not many pride events around the world can claim that!

The park party will feature a cabaret stage, a bar tent, a festival village of community and commercial stalls, smaller funfair rides, family area and lots of additional entertainment. Other events over the weekend will include club nights, a boat party aboard the Fairmile and several arts and culture events. Organisers have also hinted at a “totally unique and unbelievably exciting” event taking place on the Sunday afternoon of the festival. The event will once again raise money for Rowcroft Hospice and Eddystone Trust.

Sarah Wighton, Pride Torbay secretary said: “We believe that Pride Torbay could develop into the biggest gay pride event outside of the larger UK cities, showing that we welcome LGBT visitors not only during the festival but for the rest of the year as well. Not only is the event fantastic for the local LGBT community and their friends and family, but for tourism as well!

“There are all sorts of ways people can get involved, from individuals volunteering to help in the organization of events, to companies supporting the festival through sponsoring acts or offering ‘in kind’ support. Please feel free to email us at: info@pridetorbay.org if you can help in any way. Once again we will also be organising a series of fundraisers for the main summer event, so please join our Facebook group or register you details at www.pridetorbay.org for all the latest news.”

The “Over The Rainbow Ball” a LGBT winter charity event is set to take place this Saturday (28th November) at the Riviera International Conference Centre. Final tickets for the sumptuous masque ball are available from the Torquay Tourist Information Centre and the Riviera International Conference Centre itself. Visit www.rainbowballtorquay.com