LGBT tourism, also known as gay tourism, is a niche of tourism marketed to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Typically, these tourists are open about their sexual orientation, but sometimes these vacations allow people to feel more comfortable if they feel closeted at home. The main component of LGBT tourism is for locations and travel services to attract the tourists. LGBT tourism has sometimes been called “gaycation”, which implies a version of a vacation that incorporates some aspect of LGBT culture.
Pros and Cons
Like all forms of tourism, there are positives and negatives to LGBT tourism. For starters, the cost can be incredibly high, depending on where you go.
Travel and accommodation alone can run up to the mid-thousand dollar range. Depending on where you travel, safety may be an issue, particularly in third world or developing countries. Some destinations have anti-gay laws as well, and reports of gay bashings in certain places can be a deterrent to travelling. LGBT tourist trips are becoming more and more popular, however, and it is easy to meet new people and make new friends when on these types of trips. There are also numerous discount-laced LGBT hotel packages which help save on the overall cost of the trip, which many people say is a motivating factor.
New York remains as one of the most popular tourist sites in the world for LGBT tourists. New York offers an abundance of activities for people of all sexuality, but its numerous gay clubs, bars, beaches, hotels, and saunas make it one of the most popular places for LGBT tourism. San Francisco and Las Vegas are also extremely popular destinations; also The Castro District in San Francisco is an oft-visited destination. The Castro is a thriving marketplace for all things gay, and there is a sense of acceptance and belonging that is promoted throughout the district that attract many LGBT travellers.
The Road Less Travelled
Perhaps surprisingly, Cape Town in South Africa is an extremely popular tourist destination for LGBT travellers. The most popular spot is Clifton Third, which is known as one of the world’s best gay beaches. It is part of an area that has four beaches, which are popular among LGBT and non-gay travellers alike. These four beaches are one of the few areas that is well protected from the south-easterly wind, which is part of the reason why they attract so many visitors. Barcelona also has one of the world’s best gay beaches, the Sitges. It is widely considered to be one of the most gay-friendly places in the world.
Costs and Savings
The cost of LGBT tourism depends entirely on where you wish to travel. For those living in the United States, it is significantly cheaper to visit New York or San Francisco than it would be Cape Town or Barcelona. Still, airfare and accommodation, as well as leisure costs, can quickly add up. Luckily, there are many hotels that have discounts for LGBT tourists, and there are also numerous LGBT based tour groups that provide discounted rates for numerous events.