In 2012, Gay Days expanded west with a sister event in Vegas.
Gay Days Las Vegas debuted Sept. 4-10 with the Tropicana Hotel and Casino playing host hotel. Orlando-based Gay Days, Inc. co-owner Chris Manley said an estimated 30,000 people attended and enjoyed elements similar to Gay Days Orlando: the Gay Days Expo, pool parties and a kick-off party at Macy's.
Manley said the Vegas expo was smaller than Orlando's, but that was expected in an inaugural year.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…”Our expo had nothing near the traffic in Orlando,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â Manley said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…”2012 was our 14th year in Orlando and about 19,000 came through [the Expo]. We had about 4,000 in Vegas. Most vendors were very happy and felt it was an average size expo for out there in the west.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â
After a previous week of monsoon weather, Manley said the weather cooperated during the four days that comprised Gay Days Vegas. Also helping was a partnership with Las Vegas Pride. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…”Their numbers were up, with people flowing back and forth between the two events,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â Manley noted.
According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, LGBT tourism is on the rise in the city, propelled by word of mouth, new programming and targeted efforts by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The tourism agency has created dedicated advertising campaigns aimed at the LGBT community that appear in gay media outlets such as Out and Curve. A recent one features a male-female couple standing in the middle of an all-male pool party under the phrase, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…”Everyone's welcome, even straight people.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â
That type of support is not lost on Manley.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…”The government and community has been more welcoming than Orlando ever has been in the last 22 years,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â he told LVRC.
The Tropicana has also sought LGBT business, and was named one of 2011's ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…”25 Hottest HotelsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â by GayTravel.com.
One highlight of Gay Days Vegas was the first night, when the Tropicana beamed the Gay Days logo onto the side of their building.
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã…”We had people showing up all weekend that had seen that, were in town and somehow didn’t realize we were having Gay Days,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬Ã‚Â Manley said.
He said Gay Days Vegas will continue. They are booked ahead for the next three years, and their websiteÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬”GayDays.comÃƒÂ¢Ã¢”šÂ¬”is currently being updated with new information about both Gay Days Vegas and Gay Days Orlando.