[Corrects third paragraph: the development will not refurbish the existing Travel Inn, which is located opposite the new site and remains open for business] Developers plan to open the first gay boutique hotel in New York City, hoping to capitalize on a growing trend for gay-oriented tourism.
The Out NYC is to be developed just off Times Square in the heart of Hell's Kitchen. In a cheeky swipe at "gay-friendly" establishments, it is billed as the city's first "heterofriendly" hotel.
The developers plan a $20m refurbishment of a vacant building on 42nd Street to create The Out, including the addition of a 10,000 square foot dance club. The hotel will also feature 123 guest rooms, a gym, spa, restaurant and café.
New York is the top-ranking destination for America's LGBT community, according to San Francisco-based Community Marketing. Although many several establishments bill themselves as "gay friendly," The Out NYC will break new ground in targeting the affluent and well-travelled gay community solely. Gay travel guide GayCities.com lists 67 gay friendly hotels in the city.
Other cities worldwide have also been picking up on the importance of gay tourism. In August 2009, Amsterdam opened the world's first tourist information center for gay tourists, followed quickly by London which opened its LGBT Tourist Information Centre in October.
Gay travelers are "less affected by economic downturns than their mainstream counterparts because the majority are dual-income-no-kids consumers," explained Community Marketing president Thomas Roth. "LGBT leisure travelers remain a important niche market for tourism and hospitality."