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Spring 2006 | Do you know the way to Brokeback?

Spring 2006 | Do you know the way to Brokeback?

Travel industry players from Telluride to San Francisco are using Brokeback Mountain tie-ins to lure cowboy-crazy gay travelers into the sunset

Brokeback Mountain has towered over the cultural landscape this year, earning enough award statuettes to fashion a second mountain. So it stands to reason that the tourism industry would want to cash in on the film's success, especially in the wake of a months-long torrent of media coverage culminating in Sunday night's Oscar telecast.

Tourism boards, tour companies, hotels, event organizers, and other travel industry players are banking on the hope that gay travelers—inspired by the film's cowboy themes and drop-dead-gorgeous scenery—will venture out into the wild, wild West. The Alberta Film Commission took out ads in Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter congratulating Brokeback on its success, and reminding fans that despite its Wyoming setting, the film was actually shot in Canada.

But Wyoming is certainly not shying away from all the attention: Diane Shober, director of the Wyoming Office of Travel and Tourism told the Los Angeles Times that phone calls to her office were "up substantially" because of the film. "What we're measuring right now is the interest in Wyoming since the release of the movie," she was quoted as saying.

Miles away in San Francisco, city slickers looking for their own gay cowboy romance can now take advantage of the Brokeback Mountain Package at the Hotel Metropolis. For $149, gay travelers not willing to make the trek to Canada or Wyoming can steal away for a weekend retreat in the heart of the city by the bay. The western-tinged hotel package allows aspiring gay cowboys an opportunity to stay in one of Hotel Metropolis's deluxe rooms, where they will find a six-pack of beer, a sheepskin throw, two cowboy hats, and two Rough Rider condoms.

OutWest Global Adventures has been offering a Montana ranch vacation package to outdoorsy gay travelers for years. The trip allows guests to stay on a working cattle ranch and ride alongside cowboys as they herd and drive 2,000 head of cattle. To take advantage of Brokeback's immense popularity, the vacation package was renamed the Montana Brokeback Mountain Ranch Vacation. The demand for the ranch vacation has subsequently become so staggering that additional dates have been scheduled.

Organizers of Telluride Gay Ski Week (February 26–March 5) in Colorado renamed their annual Oscar-watching party the Brokeback Mountain Oscar Night Party. Party planners arranged a special six-course dinner (no mention of canned beans) and special giveaways from the film's producer, Focus Features. Happy trails!

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