New York City continues to maintain its longtime position as the #1 US destination for American lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers, while Great Britain is the world’s top LGBT destination outside North America, according to research by Community Marketing, Inc. (CMI).
New York, which has been the undisputed top leisure-travel spot for many years, fares well because of its broad appeal to gay and lesbian travelers and its many popular attractions, including theatre, cuisine, shopping, night life, and well-known museums, the study said.
Among other US cities that fare well in the 13th annual LGBT Tourism Study:
- San Francisco ranks #3 for leisure travel and #5 for business travel, but its high rankings in both categories place it #2 on the overall list.
- Chicago ranks as the #1 business travel destination.
- Las Vegas is the #2 leisure destination.
- Other cities in the top ten of either leisure or business travel are: Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Springs, Washington DC, San Diego, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta and Boston.
The rise of Great Britain – and especially London – as an international gay capital over the past five years, is a validation of that country’s tourism offices’ consistent outreach to the gay community, CMI said.? Britain bypassed the Netherlands (#1 in the 1990s and now rated #6) and continues to grow in popularity.
Top Canadian destinations include Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, with Vancouver rating as the top leisure destination, Toronto being the top business destination, and their combined scores being nearly equal. Montreal also ranked very highly.
“Canada, with its freedom to marry, gay-welcoming cities, and the return of a favorable exchange rate, is increasingly loved and admired among LGBT American consumers,” said David Paisley, senior research analyst at CMI.
Destination leaders in Mexico and the Caribbean include Puerto Vallarta at #1, while Argentina is the leading South American destination. China is the top destination in the Asia/Pacific region, followed by Japan and Australia. South Africa is the LGBT community’s primary destination in Africa.
LGBT Travel Less Affected by Economy
Though the study found that the sagging economy has slowed the growth of LGBT travel in the past year and resulted in a stagnation in most travel segments, CMI said that the gay and lesbian community traditionally has been less impacted by economic fluctuations than the travel industry overall.
“Looking further into the numbers we found that about a third of the survey participants decreased their travel over the past 12 months,” said Paisley. “But a third traveled similarly to last year, and about a third increased their travel, taking advantage of the many travel bargains in the market.”
Marriage Plans Gain Momentum
The survey, which was conducted before November’s election, also asked couples about plans to marry in the coming year. Of the 7,634 LGBT Americans indicating they are in a relationship but not yet in a government-recognized union, 12% indicated plans to marry in California, 5% planned to marry in Massachusetts, and 3% planned to marry in Canada. Another 7% said they would “register in another country or state,” either as a marriage where legal, or as a domestic partnership or civil union. Connecticut, because it only recently legalized same-sex marriage, was not included on the list.
About the survey: CMI calculated worldwide destination rankings based upon numbers of overnight visits by LGBT consumers in the past 12 months. More than 4,000 geographically representative LGBT American consumers were surveyed about their travel patterns. In addition, CMI identified differences in destination choice between men and women and among age groups. For example, a city that is popular among Baby Boomer gay men may not have ranked the same for Generation X lesbians, the firm said.