11/08/2011 01:24 EST | Updated 01/08/2012 05:12 EST

B.C. Pulls Brochure Discouraging Promoting Gay Tourism

Tourism BC is withdrawing a marketing brochure telling businesses not to promote gay tourism in China.

A passage from the controversial brochure, called "How to Market Your Business in China," was made public on Monday and sparked outrage from observers.

The brochure states there was a prohibition on promoting gay tourism and gambling under the rules of the China National Tourism Administration.

But on Tuesday morning, officials with B.C.'s Tourism Ministry offered an apology for the incident and promised to pull the brochure to correct the offending passage.

"The information provided regarding the restrictions around marketing in China published in the guidebook was incorrect," the ministry said in a written statement.

"The restrictions on marketing gay tourism and gambling to China are not explicit in the memorandum of agreement between China and Canada. Minister [Pat] Bell wants to apologize to those that may have been offended. He's asked that staff remove this statement from the guide. He has also asked his deputy to look into this, to ensure such an error does not happen again."

NDP tourism critic Spencer Chandra Herbert, who is gay, said he welcomes the apology but wonders why the brochure was issued in the first place.

"Why was this language in the B.C. government brochure? Who put it in there and for what reason? Gay tourism is big business for Vancouver and for B.C. It brings in tens of millions of dollars every year," Chandra Herbert said.

In a phone call from China on Monday, Bell said the agreement was negotiated between China and Canada, and that B.C. was not part of endorsing it.