Economicand Social Benefits of Gay and Lesbian Tourism
Economicand Social Benefits of Gay and Lesbian Tourism
Inthe 21stcentury, tourism has proved to be a prime and dynamically developingsector in many economies around the globe. Its tremendous growth, theextensive volume of cash inflow that go along with it, development ofroad, rail network and communication networks has an immense impacton many sector of the economy which positively contribute to economicand social development of the whole nation. The world economy hasbecome so interconnected such that it is referred to as a globalvillage (Markwell & Waitt, 2014). In this light, many nationshave invested colossal sums of resources in opening up destinationsto boost the tourism sector, which has become an important part ofsocio-economic growth and development.
Asthe visibility of Gay and Lesbian community continue to increase,their impacts on economic and social setups of states continue togain footing. Conceivably, no sphere of the national setup is moreprofound than in travel industry. In the recent past lesbians, gays,bisexuals and transgender, commonly referred to as LGBT have becomean integral part in the service sector especially tourism (Hughes,2006).It is not surprising that ‘pink dollar’ has attracted tremendousattention from all stakeholders in the service industry as the numberof LGBT continues to increase, and as nations redouble their effortsin passing legislation that recognize lesbians and gay rights andfreedom.
Basedon the findings of the United States Department of Commerce, thetourism sector together with the travel industry creates in theexcess of $1.3trillion annually. In the same vein LGBT touristexpenditure account for more than $65billion every year. In 2012Netherlands generated approximately $165 billion for travel andvacation spending by LGBT (Coon,2012).
Inthe United States Gay and Lesbian travel expenditure is one thousanddollars more than the average heterosexual American. It is apparentthat Gay, Lesbians, Bi-sexual and Transgender individuals in the U.Stake more holiday breaks than heterosexual Americans.
Onthe social sphere gay and lesbian tourism has significance influenceon the host communities. The rise in the number of gay and lesbiantourism has become an important aspect for travel and hotel agencies,who have increased their pressure on government to pass legislationsthat recognize their rights (Guaracino, 2007).
In order to seize this lucrative opportunity many communities havereduced their negative attitude and stereotypes towards gay andlesbians’ individuals. Their travel to indigenous locations aroundthe globe and vacation to remote sites has changed the perceptions ofhosts and developed understanding and tolerance (Hughes,2006). Many residents from different tourist destinations where gayand lesbian community tour, are educated about different cultureseven though they may not get the privilege of travelling to overseenations. Additionally host communities have immensely benefited fromgay and lesbian tourism in profound ways (Pritchard, 2007). Moneythat is directly linked to gay and lesbian tourism is used to developand improve infrastructure such as roads, health care facilities,internet cafes, education institutions, libraries and so on.
Forexample, the recent growth and development of infrastructure andcapital buildings in Sydney, Australia is closely linked to the factthat the city is the gay capital of South Pacific. The Yearly gayand lesbian cultural festival is approximated to generate more thatAU $ 99 million (Markwell, 2002). This event has attracted thesupport and attention of many travel agencies, hotel groups andgovernment department in Australia. It is worth noting that annualgay and lesbian festival in Sydney attracts more visitors andtourists more than any other social event in the country. Thebuilding and construction industry has registered a massive boost asthe demand for iconic gay and lesbian facilities and hotels in thecity continue to increase. On the social sphere, the city has changedfrom an industrial centre to a cosmopolitan city pegged on capitaldriven by expenditure by gay and lesbian community (Hughes,2006).
Inother cities with accommodative policies such as New York, Mexico,London, Tokyo and Amsterdam the gay market has been a major boost toconstruction and travel industry which are intertwined with thetourist sector. Gay bars, hotels, night clubs and restaurants haveoffered many job opportunities to many individuals in different partsof the world ((Hughes,2006).
Itis important to note that gay and lesbian tourists seek out servicesfrom quality airlines, travel agencies and hotels that provide aconducive environment. Quality travel firms such as Virgin Atlanticin the United States, British Airways and Many American airlines arejust but a few companies that work in close relations with gay andlesbian travel association (Brunt &Brophy, 2006). Thisassociation is made up of more than 1000 tour operators, cruiselines, agents and hotel chains which have reaped abundant rewardsfrom gay and lesbian tourism.
Asmore firms and business organizations continue to acknowledge thestrength of the ‘pink dollar’ and the increasing influence of thegay and lesbian community on the tourism sector, the economic andsocial benefit to the whole society that will continue to stream inis likely to increase. The most important benefit about lesbians andgay tourism is that less importance is attached to seasons. Thetravel pattern of this group of tourists is evenly distributed acrossall tourists’ destinations.
Brunt,P and Brophy, K. (2006). GayTourist Victimisation.Retrieved from http://irv.sagepub.com/content/13/3/275.refs.html
Coon,R.D. (2012). Sun,Sand, and Citizenship: The Marketing of Gay Tourism.TheMarketing of Gay Tourism, Journal of Homosexuality, 59:4, 511-534,DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2012.648883
Guaracino,J. (2007). Gayand Lesbian Tourism:The Essential Guide for Marketing. Routledge
Hughes,H. L. (2006). Pinktourism: Holidays of gay men and lesbians.Wallingford: CABI.
Markwell,K and Waitt, G. (2014).GayTourism: Culture and Context.Routledge, London.
Markwell,K.(2002). MardiGras Tourism and the Construction of Sydney as an International Gayand Lesbian City.A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Volume 8, Number 1-2. Retrievedfrom: http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/glq/summary/v008/8.1markwell.html
Pritchard,A. (2007). Tourismand gender: Embodiment, sensuality and experience.Wallingford: CABI