As the global visibility of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community increases, there has a steady increase in interest in this community as a consumer group, a trend which is particularly evident in the travel industry.
A 2012 Global Tourism Report on LGBT Tourism published by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) shows that gay/bi men had taken an average of 3.9 trips in the past 12 months. With lesbian/bi women, that number was 3.3 trips.
As highlighted in an older post (see here), for destination marketing, caution is necessary against making assumptions about the LGBT market, with the international organizations publishing the aforementioned studies stating that the wedding market for this sector is a big driver, and that the LGBT sector appears to have bucked the recession trend, bringing higher-than-average spend to their holiday destinations. Generally savvy in digital media, LGBT travel is also influenced by social media and digital or actual word of mouth.
This year has also seen to major developments for the international LGBT community with the legalization of same sex marriage by several countries worldwide.
In April, New Zealand became the first country in the Asia Pacific to legalise same sex marriage and is now the 13th country to legalise gay marriage, after Uruguay passed its law earlier in the month, followed by France.
This comes in contrast with the latest news coming from Russia just a few days ago where Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law allegedly one of the most draconian anti-gay laws on the planet. The new law comes only seven months before Russia is to host the Winter Olympics in Sochi expecting visitors and visitors from around the world.
Meanwhile, several destinations have just launched dedicated tourism campaigns targeting the LGBT market. Here is a selection of the latest initiatives:
“Make History” in New Zealand
Tourism New Zealand launched a nationwide ‘Make History’ campaign in Australia this June, capitalising on the recent attention New Zealand gained by passing the Marriage Amendment Bill.
The tourism organisation is holding a competition offering the chance to be the first Australian same-sex couple to wed in New Zealand.
The new campaign has received significant attention from Australian media since the competition launched on Friday 21 June 2013.
The campaign is being conducted in partnership with the Star Observer, a weekly gay and lesbian community newspaper, with the competition winners set to be announced 15 July 2013. Prize includes return flights from Australia, accommodation, a special wedding ceremony and stylish reception.
According to the organization, the significant attention the change of legislation received in Australia has provided a great platform to further promote New Zealand as a wedding and honeymoon destination for anyone and everyone.
New York Loves LGBT
Since New York legalized gay marriage in 2011, there has been a continued push to promote the state as a same-sex wedding destination. With the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision striking down the Defense Of Marriage Act, the state is also highlighting the other big draw: same-sex marriage.
As New Yorkers celebrated pride weekend in the end of June, New York Governor Cuomo announced a new “I Love New York LGBT” tourism website- lgbt.iloveny.com. The new campaign invites LGBT travelers to explore why there is so much to love in New York State.
The site will help the LGBT community plan their New York State vacation by listing popular destinations while it also features a calendar of LGBT events and resources.
The logo for the new campaign features the iconic ‘I Love NY’ logo with a rainbow-colored heart. The content is dedicated to the LGBT market segment while it also highlights the state’s long history with the LGBT community.