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Why Spain Is Winning the Gay Tourist Dollar

Why Spain Is Winning the Gay Tourist Dollar War

Why Spain Is Winning the Gay Tourist Dollar War

The Iberian nation beats out France and U.K. as Europe's biggest draw for gay, lesbian, and bisexual travelers.

Photo: Getty/ Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Spain may not have London or Paris, but its friendly culture and welcoming attitude toward LGBT people have helped put it over the top for gay, bi, and lesbian travelers.

The nation — which legalized same-sex marriage a decade ago — rakes in $6.8 billion annually from LGB tourists, according to Bloomberg. That's more money than France or the United Kingdom receives from gay visitors (the U.S., though, sees over $21 billion in foreign gay travel dollars).

Spain has many things going for it, including warm beaches, cosmopolitan cities like Madrid and Barcelona, enormous Pride celebrations, and a pro-LGBT climate that makes gay visitors comfortable displaying affection. Even the conservatives who run Madrid have embraced gay rights, flying a rainbow flag from government buildings.

"This influx of visitors trickles down to local bars, gyms, even taxi drivers want to be involved," Barcelona Pride organizer Tes Cuadreny told Bloomberg. "They know this benefits everyone."

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Neal Broverman