Bell apologizes for ‘gay tourism’ error

Jobs Minister Pat Bell has asked his staff to investigate how a ministry brochure erroneously warned against promoting gay tourism in China.

Jobs

VICTORIA – Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell has asked his ministry staff to investigate how a B.C. government brochure on marketing in China came to include an erroneous warning against promotion of gambling and gay tourism in the country.

Speaking to reporters by phone from Beijing Tuesday, Bell offered an apology to anyone who is offended by the reference to gay tourism in the brochure, which is being rewritten.

Entitled “How to Market Your Business in China,” the brochure was released by his ministry days before Bell and Premier Christy Clark left for B.C.’s largest-ever trade mission to China.

It said B.C. tourism partners must “prohibit the promotion of casinos, gambling and gay tourism, per the China National Tourism Association.”

When the issue was raised Monday, Bell initially said the restriction was a result of Canada’s negotiations with China for “approved destination status,” which allows Chinese tourists to visit Canada without visas.

After further checking by ministry staff, Bell said no such restrictions exist in Canada’s tourism agreement with China.

“It is still unclear to me how that passage was inserted into the document,” Bell said. “We can not find any direction either from the [approved destination status] agreement signed with the Chinese or any other place. We are still researching that and I’ve asked my deputy to find out exactly how that happened.”

The Chinese government has struggled with acceptance of homosexuality, which was removed in 2001 from the country’s official list of mental disorders. The state-run China Daily has run several articles in recent years signalling acceptance or discussing moderating public attitudes towards gay marriage.

Tourism Vancouver promotes the city as a gay-friendly place to visit, with the largest gay population in Western Canada and the host city for the North American Outgames in July.

Since the trip began last week, Clark and Bell have highlighted the signing of an agreement with Sichuan Airlines to begin three flights a week to Vancouver starting next year.

Just Posted

Victoria Beer Week celebrates ‘five years of cheers’

Nine day craft beer festival delves into home brew workshops, food pairings, and a road trip to Sooke

Transit open houses on better Peninsula bus service

SIDNEY — Improved BC Transit services to West Sidney and to the… Continue reading

Victoria Orchid Society hosts 30th annual show

Orchids in full bloom March 3 and 4 at Our Lady of Fatima Hall

Free public lecture timed with scientific meeting in Sidney

Oceanographer Gregory Johnson speaks on the robots that monitor ocean temperature and salinity

Victoria playing host to regional farm market conference

Food industry experts to attend three-day networking event, which is open to the public

The 2018 B.C. Games wrap up in Kamloops

The B.C. Winter Games comes to a close after a weekend of fun and excitment

Naval ship spills 30,000 litres of fuel in the Strait of Georgia

HMCS Calgary spilled fuel east of Nanaimo and Parksville on Saturday

Student Voice: Phones in school a tool for learning or weapon of mass distraction?

Spectrum student questions role of smart phones in school

Library’s French collection gets $15,000 boost

Provincial grant adds extra French-language materials to Greater Victoria Public Library collection

Spectrum to stage Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Students having fun with laughs in Broadway musical

B.C. boosts support for former youth in government care

More support coming for rent, child care and health care while they go back to school

Saanich skater golden at B.C. Winter Games

Desiree Grubell takes gold, Emily Walzak silver in Special Olympics figure skating.

SMUS stages Catch Me If You Can, the true tale of a con-artist

Musical follows tales of impersonator Frank Abagnale Jr.

B.C. VIEWS: Our not-so-New Democrats don’t rock the boat

Finance Minister Carole James takes the wheel, steers similar course

Most Read