In the late 80’s and early 90’s Miami was gay, gay, gay! But by the end of the 90’s, South Beach had turned straight, straight, straight. As usual, the gays went in, cleaned up an area, and the straights flocked there.
While this boom was happening in Miami, just up the coast, Richard Gray opened the Royal Palms Resort in Fort Lauderdale. 1991 was really the beginning of a little gay resort town, not as crowded or expensive as South Beach. As gays left South Beach, many went to Fort Lauderdale.
Richard sold the resort last year to a couple who were former guests. But he has stayed on in his role promoting gay touism to Fort Lauderale as the gay liaison to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.
He deservedly earned a Gay + award from Logo this month. Here’s the official press release from Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. :
Known as one of the country’s top GLBT travel destinations, Greater Fort Lauderdale earned two honors from Logo’s first ever “TripOut Gay Travel Awards.” Richard Gray, gay liaison to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau and owner of Richard Gray Consulting, received “The Gay+ Award for Achievement in
Making Our World Gayer.” Fort Lauderdale was also nominated as the “Sexiest Place on Earth,” which will be voted on by the website’s readers. Logo, a unit of Viacom’s MTV Networks, is the world’s leading cable, satellite, online, mobile and digital entertainment gay and lesbian-themed network.
Gray is the first ever to receive “The Gay+ Award for Achievement in Making Our World Gayer,” which is given to a professional who has increased awareness of the GLBT consumer in the world of travel, tourism and hospitality. As the founder of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s first five-star gay guesthouse, The Royal Palms Resort, he is a pioneer and leader in the field of GLBT travel. He was influential in bringing the gay market to Greater Fort Lauderdale and his efforts to create the Rainbow Alliance, a marketing coalition to support the GLBT community in Broward have been recognized by the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.
“Richard’s forward thinking has been instrumental in making our destination one of the top GLBT vacation destinations, with more than 1 million gay travelers visiting our beautiful beaches and the ‘gayborhood’ of Wilton Manors each year,” said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“Gray is credited with being fundamental in inventing the GLBT travel market and his model of marketing has become a standard in other destinations around the world, which is why we are proud to recognize him as our first-ever “Gay+” winner,” said John Polly, editor, LOGOonline.com.TripOut also nominated Fort Lauderdale for the “Sexiest Place on Earth” reader’s choice award, along with other destinations including Mykonos, Buenos Aires, Paris and Madrid. Greater Fort Lauderdale encourages fans to visit TripOutGayTravel.com to cast their vote for Fort Lauderdale as the “Sexiest Place on Earth.” Vote early and vote often, winners will be announced in early November.