The region offers an abundance of some of the world’s truly most breathtaking places including the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest. Up until recently though, I didn’t know just how gay-friendly and accepting the region was.
But all that’s changed thanks to one very hard working and entrepreneurial man – Jay Horne. Jay’s mission has been to open the region up to the LGBT community in a way that it never has been before. It’s a win-win situation. We (the gay community) have a beautiful place to visit, relax and party in, while the local tourism industry gets a boost too!
Jay initially started a travel website called go2gaycairns in 2013. It experienced such massive success that it led him to start a print magazine called FNQ Magazine. The magazine has gone on to become one of the most widely read LGBT magazines in Australia, with 150+ distribution points all across the country. While FNQ Magazine is produced in Far North Queensland, it reaches readers in all corners of the world including New Zealand, South America and the USA.
Jay’s passion for the region is easy to see. Here he is on a local news broadcast speaking about the potential of the pink dollar in Far North Queensland’s tourism mix.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with the very, very, very busy Jay Horne. We spoke about his role in promoting the region to the LGBT world, launching and running a successful magazine, as well as his most recent achievements.
Little Gay Blog – What made you want to promote Far North Queensland, and its pink dollar potential, to Australia and the entire world?
Jay – The gay tourist market is huge! I really want to give Australia and the world a taste of gay life in the tropics.
When I started, I didn’t have any ‘official’ tourism or government backing. I just knew that I wanted to get the website out there so people could see for themselves that I was not promoting Cairns as a sleazy gay holiday spot, which is what I came up against when I first talked about creating a website.
Rather it’s a niche specific, targeted, destination portal designed to entice gay travellers to see one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, that being Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. Cairns has all the destination motivators that gay travellers look for when choosing a holiday – location, sun, sand, friendly relaxed lifestyle and a safe environment.
Not only have you been so successful in promoting the region from a tourism perspective, you’re also doing something amazing by launching and running a successful print magazine, at a time when so many people are saying traditional (or print) media is dying. How have you been able to do this?
I’m so happy that FNQ Magazine has loyal readers in all corners of Australia and the world. We pride ourselves on producing a quality publication which includes gay friendly accommodation, tours and attractions, where to eat, what’s happening, profiles on interesting men and women in our region as well as some good old fashion tropical inspired eye candy!
While I understand and appreciate the beliefs of many people in relation to print media, I truly believe that a high quality niche specific publication will last the test of time.
The free online edition is also well read with over 2000 ‘reads’ in the first week of it going live. (You can read current and past online versions of FNQ Magazine here)
We’ve also just launched a video that we’re really proud of, that gives people a glimpse into the tropical paradise lifestyle that we promote with FNQ Magazine.
You’re a very busy man. In addition to the website and magazine, what else is on your plate at the moment?
A couple of years ago, I thought it was time to create an event. So I joined forces with The Centre Of Contemporary Arts Cairns and the FNQ Film Festival was born! It’s now in its second year.
What’s been your greatest achievement so far?
My most recent achievement would be being announced the TNQ Representative for Gay and Lesbian Tourism Australia. It’s a role that I think really compliments the work I am doing now, and my genuine love and passion for the region.
However, I think my greatest achievement since the conception of both go2gaycairns.com and FNQ Magazine is that FNQ Magazine was announced as one of the top 3 Best Non Daily Publication finalists for the Queensland Media Awards in 2014 – not even 12 months after its first release. It was a tough category with over 40 entries!