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City taps a new market

Wednesday, 2nd March, 2011

ON TOUR: The city’s connection to the movie Priscilla - Queen of the Desert makes it an attractions for tourists. ON TOUR: The city’s connection to the movie Priscilla - Queen of the Desert makes it an attractions for tourists.

The iconic movie Priscilla - Queen of the Desert, has again placed the city and the Palace Hotel at the top of the international visitor list by targeting the exclusive gay and lesbian travel market.

Making headlines in online forums such as StarOnline and Gayopolis, the city's eclectic mix of mining, film and the arts features as the step-off point for the glitter and sequin tour of Central Australia.

The luxury Priscilla Desert Tour leaves Sydney on REX Airlines and incorporates stopovers at famous scenes from the movie including The Palace Hotel.

Priscilla Desert Tours, proudly gay-owned and operated, is planning on running the first of these tours pre-Mardi Gras next year.

One of the owners of the tour company, Flick Builder, said the Priscilla tour will be launched at the 2011 Out Travel Expo which is being held today.

"This is going to be our first time to run it (the tour), it is not on the market yet. We are starting with the launch at the travel expo," Ms Builder said.

She said the five-star luxury coach tour will seat 40 people with a number of hosts.

Ms Builder hopes the tour will run once or twice a year.

"We'll see what the response is like ... (we will) possibly do one at a different time of year, when it is not so hot," she said.

Leaving Broken Hill, the tour then travels to destinations such as Voyagers Resort Uluru, Kings Canyon Wilderness Resort, Comfort Inn Coober Pedy and Lasseter's Casino in Alice Springs.

Ms Builder, who runs another tour business "Truely Tribal" with her partner Diana Friedt, said the idea came about after there was a noticeable lull in the market for gay travel.

She said mixing this with the success of the Priscilla Stage Production and 1994 Priscilla Queen of the Desert film would make it a huge thing for gay and lesbian travel.

"It's very exciting," Ms Builder said.

Mayor Wincen Cuy said specialist visitor packages focusing on Broken Hill's quirky relationship with the movie and its showgirls still captured the imagination of many visitors and this tour capitalised on the city's relationship with Felicia, Mitzy and Bernadette.

"Broken Hill has a rich mix of experiences to offer visitors and this tour offers those fascinated with the Priscilla story the opportunity to travel to the destinations and experience the locations the girls visited in the film," Mayor Cuy said.

Following on from the recent Outback Regional Tourism Organisation announcement that Far West NSW tourism figures had jumped 18 per cent from September 2009 to September 2010, Mayor Cuy said each new initiative would continue to highlight the city and attract people with different interests.

"We have the ability to offer a wide range of experiences and activities because we have the people and the landscape, heritage, architecture and the right mix of industry and experiences to meet a broad cross section of the tourism market," Mayor Cuy said.

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