Surprising Facts and Figures about LGBT Tourism

CMI Gay Travel Survey
Photo: David Shankbone/Flickr

The LGBT tourism industry is BIG. $65 billion a year big. Out of the $1.3 trillion spent in economic output for the travel and tourism industry in the USA, gays and lesbians account for a rather healthy chunk. 

Surprised? 

Just released yesterday, Community Marketing Inc.'s annual LGBT Tourism Study reveals this and other stats that have become the bellwhether of gay consumers on the go. Culling responses from over 10,000 self-identified gay and lesbian consumers, what started as a way to highlight the power of the pink dollar and open the eyes of destinations has transformed into a window of how gays travel. 

Where do you fit in? Do you also choose a hotel based on location, price, free WiFi access, and gay-friendly rep -- in that order?

See some more insights below:

 

FACT: The LGBT community has increased their travel in the last year, despite the economic downturn.
FIGURE: 3.9, average number of leisure trips taken last year by gay men. 

 

FACT: The LGBT community love their passports.
FIGURE: 85% of gay males and 77% of lesbians own a passport, compared with a roughly 30% rate of all Americans. 54% of gay men used passport within the last year. 

 

FACT: The LGBT community goes everywhere.
FIGURE: Only 1/3 of gay men and lesbians avoid destinations with anti-gay laws. Violence though is a different matter; 81% of gay males those places. Yet boycotts (however well intentioned), don't seem to work. Only 22% of LGBTs under 35 avoid gay un-friendly places. And for gay parented families, a destination being "family-friendly" trumps "gay-friendly".

 

FACT: The LGBT economy/budget market is much larger than assumed. We're as frugal as we are fabulous.
FIGURE: 2/3 of those staying in budget accommodation do so in order to have more money to spend on more frequent vacations, local attractions or restaurants. 

 

FACT: LGBT events (like Prides) are high motivators for travel.
FIGURE: 3, average number of nights gay and lesbians spend in a hotel when traveling for an event. Makes sense when "Sexual Adventure" ranks high among 28.7% people. Yet the biggest motivator is a destination's reputation, with 62.4% counting that as imporant.

 

FACT: The LGBT community is very particular when booking a vacation.
FIGURE: 3 to 4, average number of websites checked before booking directly with a company.

 

FACT: Gay newlyweds are just like straight newlyweds—they like their beaches.
FIGURE: 43% of couples legally wed/partnered in the past five years went on a honeymoon, half of which took place in a warm-weather destination.  

 

FACT: More than half the LGBT community owns smartphones.
FIGURE: 77% of gay male smartphone owners use them during trips, and no, not just to hook up. (That was only 36%.) 

 

FACT: The LGBT community likes to “explore new destinations”.
FIGURE: 64% was the frequency of “exploring a new destination” while on vacation. 59% indicates gay men like “rest and relaxation” whereas lesbians prefer “visiting family and friends” at 61% (just above R&R at 60%).

 

And what are those destinations? 

Check back soon for the Top 10 Gayest Destinations in the US and World. 

Tags: G.P.S

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