Philadelphia officials are lauding the city's newest accolade: A top gay destination.

The 13th annual LGBT Tourism Study of 4,500 gay and lesbian travelers ranked Philadelphia the 13th most visited U.S. destination for gay and lesbian travelers.

Philadelphia's ascent as a gay destination began in 2003 when the city launched the Philadelphia- Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay campaign. The ads ran in several high-profile mainstream publications and in venerable gay media outlets like The Advocate.

“Just a few years ago, Philadelphia wasn't even on the gay map, but today the city is among the most-recognized lesbian and gay tourism brands out there,” said Thomas Roth, president of Community Marketing, the San Francisco-based research firm that conducted the study. “To see this kind of consumer recognition is a tribute to taking a well-considered and steady approach to LGBT travel marketing and it is a huge achievement.”

Philadelphia first broke the prized “Top 20 U.S. Destinations” list in 2006, when it topped out at #16.

“Philadelphia, our partners and especially the members of the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus are immensely proud to know that gay and lesbian travelers are increasingly discovering Philadelphia and The Countryside,” said Meryl Levitz, president and CEO, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC). “We believe that our region's rich history, incredible dining, exclusive events, vibrant nightlife and great hotels – all of which are affordable – offer gay and lesbian travelers an unrivaled experience.”

On the Net: For information about gay happenings in Philadelphia, visit