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LGBT+ TRAVEL


New data by Gaydio and TTG Media reveals travel has a long way to go to reassure LGBT+ consumers it is supporting their rights. Rob Gill reports


L


GBT+ holidaymakers spend significantly more on their trips every year than


other consumers, according to new research – illustrating how lucrative this sector can be for the travel industry. A survey, completed by nearly 1,200 people and conducted by UK-based LGBT+ radio station Gaydio in partnership with TTG Media, found LGBT+ people spend an average 17% more annually on leisure travel.


Hey, big spenders LGBT+ consumers spend nearly £4,000 per person per year on their holidays, including £1,524 on breaks of less than five days and £2,310 on longer holidays. In comparison, heterosexual


consumers spend an average of £3,277 per person per year on holidays – £1,338 on short breaks and £1,939 on longer holidays. Gay men are likely to book the most short breaks of any LGBT+ group with an average of 3.04 trips per year (well ahead of the heterosexual average of 2.41 breaks per year), while lesbian and bisexual holidaymakers spend the same amount as heterosexual people on breaks of five days or less. In terms of destinations,


Spain topped the poll for the most popular place to visit for LGBT+ holidaymakers, according to the Gaydio survey, particularly Barcelona and Gran Canaria. This was followed by Amsterdam, Mykonos, New York and eastern Europe (Warsaw, Budapest and Prague). For “bucket list” destinations, the Big Apple took first place,


20 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE 09.09.2019


followed by Las Vegas, Sydney, Tel Aviv, New Zealand and Japan. But Russia, Dubai, Egypt,


Saudi Arabia and Jamaica were named as the top five destinations that LGBT+ people would like to visit but are “reluctant” to go to because of concerns over anti-gay laws.


Research matters Worries about a country’s sexual orientation laws continue to have a major influence on destination choice with 83% of LGBT+ people saying this is a factor on whether to visit a particular country or not. This means pre-booking research is vital for the LGBT+ community – 94% said they do research in advance on their destination. Fortunately, when they get


to their destinations, the vast majority of LGBT+ travellers do not experience any issues, with 81% saying they have never experienced homophobia while on holiday.


Trade perception The survey also found nearly two- thirds (65%) of LGBT+ people did not currently use a travel agent when booking a holiday, with just 35% tending to book their trips through an agent. This suggests the travel


industry has a lot of work to do in convincing LGBT+ travellers it is supporting their rights when going on holiday, even for those who book through agents. Only 22% thought the industry was doing enough in this area, with 27% saying the trade needed to do more. Half of respondents (51%) said they didn’t know if the industry was supportive enough.


“Being LGBT should not make me a different traveller to anyone else. My experience should still be the same”


Suggested ways the trade could


improve its services include providing better information about LGBT+ friendly destinations and hotels; telling clients about any potential risks related to their sexuality or gender; offering specific LGBT+ packages; and being seen to actively promote themselves to the market. “Travel agents should always


tell a couple if their dream holiday is going to be OK or not due to their sexuality,” said one respondent. “Agents should be aware that some countries really aren’t suitable for LGBT+ travellers.”


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