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Wake-up call for countries missing out on LGBT tourists

05 November 2013, 10:22

LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) tourists are choosing not to travel to countries where the local LGBT communities do not enjoy equal legal rights, says new research from LGBT consulting firm Out Now Global released this week at World Travel Market.

TheOut Now Global LGBT2020 Study shows 73% of respondents said that the position of local LGBT people affected where they spend their holiday - 36% to a great extent and a further 37% to a moderate extent.

LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) tourists are choosing not to travel to countries where the local LGBT communities do not enjoy equal legal rights, says new research from LGBT consulting firm Out Now Global released this week at World Travel Market.

The ‘Out Now Global LGBT2020 Study’ shows 73% of respondents said that the position of local LGBT people affected where they spend their holiday - 36% to a great extent and a further 37% to a moderate extent.

Currently there are 76 countries in the world where homosexuality is illegal, claims Out Now, adding these destinations are missing out on a global LGBT tourism market worth over $USD180 billion.

Ian Johnson, CEO and Founder of Out Now Global, suggested the findings were "a wake-up call" for the global tourism industry. “The key take-out here is that if you have criminal laws discriminating against homosexuality, the best you can hope for from the incoming LGBT tourism market is just the one in four who will consider your country as somewhere to visit. The majority of LGBT people will avoid places where they perceive themselves to not be truly welcome."

However, the situation is also an opportunity for countries and regions which embrace LGBT travellers. “Destinations that are more welcoming - such as Sweden, France, Spain, Belgium, UK and New Zealand - can secure a greater proportion of the total LGBT tourism revenues," he said.

Johnson added that factors such as marriage equality laws are now having a positive financial impact on those destinations which have passed them. “Out Now’s research also reveals that lesbian and gay travellers are preferring to have their honeymoons in locations that have equalised marriage for all people.”

He adds: “This is a case of the customer choosing to take their business elsewhere - to somewhere where they know they will be equally respected - and welcomed.?

"Traditional honeymoon destinations such as the Maldives, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Jamaica discriminate against homosexuals, and are missing out on the LGBT weddings and honeymoons market as a result."

Reed Travel Exhibitions, Senior Director, World Travel Market, Simon Press said: “Travel and tourism can be used to break down cultural, social and political barriers. Countries whose legislation discriminates against the LGBT community are missing out on visitors, revenues and recommendations from a growing and affluent market."


Out Now's dedicated tourism networking association Out Now Business Class will reveal more findings from the LGBT2020 research at an industry education workshop on the Wednesday 6 November at 11.00am in South Gallery Room 23 & 24. ONBC is also hosting the official LGBT Village at Stand EM1555.

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