taiwan_gay_pride_2008_01_by_icyhugsTaiwan: Taiwan is officially wooing gay tourists in the hope of becoming Asia’s top tourist destination in a region that is often openly hostile towards gay people.

In its bid to raise its presence on the world stage, Taiwan has been pushing hard to increase tourist numbers. Lagging behind rivals Japan and China, the country’s

Taiwan’s tourism bureau has teamed up with Google to create a personalized ad campaign to promote itself as a gay and lesbian haven by promoting “G5” as the largest gay circuit party in East Asia, according to chinatopix.com.

The G5 party to take place over the over the New Year is being promoted on the Internet with dazzling music shows and scantily-clad men.

Asia is not known to be very gay-friendly and has many countries that criminalize same-sex relations. Even if countries do not legally censure gay people with jail sentences, community members are far from open and have to live with social discrimination and stigma.

Israel  and far away Thailand are the only two countries that officially promotes themselves as a gay friendly destination in Asia.

“Taiwan is eyeing what is a huge market in a region with a conspicuous lack of LGBTQ draws,” says chinatopix.com pointing out that the United States alone rakes in $65 billion thanks to LGBTQ tourism.  It is hoped that G5 will put Taiwan “not only on the gay map but by extension on the short-list as a destination for all travelers.”

Taiwan is already has one of the most equality minded societies with regards to the gay community in the Asia-Pacific region.  Taipei the capital is dotted with shrines to Tu Er Shen, the Taoist god of gay men, and the government’s attitude towards same-sex marriage has made greater gains than in Japan, China, or even Australia.

“I think Taiwan is more open than other countries,” Chang Yuan Shao, owner of a gay bookstore in Ximen, Taipei’s gay district told the Taipei Times. “People can walk down the street here in Ximen and hold hands and nobody cares.”

Source: chinatopix.com

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