The city of Tel Aviv is currently leading an international American Airlines competition selecting the most popular destinations among gay tourists.
Visitors on the airline's website have been asked in the past month to vote for the city with the most vibrant nightlife, best food, most interesting pride parades, best 'sand and sun' and a variety of other categories.
The final results will be published on Tuesday, but in the meantime Tel Aviv is said to be leading the main category, Best City of 2011, with 36% of the votes, followed by New York City with 16% and Toronto and Sao Paulo with 8% each.
- Click here
to visit the international contest's website
Shai Doitsh, brand manager of the Tel Aviv Gay Vibe tourism campaign, says the past year has seen a huge increase of 25% in the number of tourists arriving in Israel for the pride events – estimated at some 5,000 people.
According to Doitsh, the rise in gay tourism to Tel Aviv continued all summer and has not stopped in recent weeks and during Christmas and New Year.
Tel Aviv-Jaffa Council Member Yaniv Waizman, who holds the municipality's Tourism portfolio and advises the mayor on gay community issues, said in response: "Our success in North America is the result of the hard work of a loyal team of volunteers engaging in professional marketing and advertising efforts.
"The gay tourists arriving in Tel Aviv are the best ambassadors Israel could ask for. Their enthusiasm with the city and its residents, including the city's openness and pleasant atmosphere – leads to good results in our effort to turn Tel Aviv into a leading destination for gay tourism."