Canadian regional tourism board accidentally “bans” gay adverts for China

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Officials in British Columbia have said staff will receive extra training after an internal miscommunication caused them to issue a brochure saying China had banned promotion of gay tourism.

The brochure, called How to Market Your Business to China, said: “[Tourism British Columbia] will also require that any partner operator agrees to prohibit the promotion of casinos, gambling and gay tourism, per the China National Tourism Administration.”

It is believed the sentence began life on a Powerpoint slide, where it read: “Some market segments may not be promoted or advertised – gay and gambling.”

One staff member seemingly took the sentence to mean gay market segments and gambling should not be promoted at all, rather than only being unlikely to be featured in publications abroad.

This led to the sentence becoming “Promotion of casinos, gambling, gay tourism are strictly prohibited” in a subsequent slide, before it made its way into the guide for businesses promoting Canada abroad.

The report into the error, which was issued yesterday, said: “Not identifying these issues was the result of poor judgment, not malicious intent.”

Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell said “disciplinary action” has been taken with those involved, but no one had been dismissed over the error.

The brochure went on to say the market in China is “not a sophisticated” one, and partners should see it “as we would with a child, for the day when they grow into a mature and strong adult.”