A report from Reuters suggests that the legalization of same-sex marriage across the United States and around the globe will fuel the travel and hospitality industries and boost spending by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender consumers.
Charlie Rounds, of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Foundation, said that LGBT couples will be an "inordinate percentage" of the wedding market over the next five to 10 years—partially due to the novelty of the legalization, he acknowledged. Rounds himself was recently able to finally marry his long-term partner.
In November, Out Now Business Class, a resource website for LGBT consumers, predicted that LGBT tourism spending is expected to top $200 billion for the first time this year. Of that, the U.S. will account for $56.5 billion of the spending, followed by Brazil with $25.3 billion. LGBT Europeans are expected to spend $66.1 billion on tourism.
Seventeen U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and a similar number of countries recognize gay unions. Internationally, popular tourist destinations like Scotland, the Netherlands, Brazil, France, New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa have legalized same-sex marriage.
And while many destinations have always been friendly to LGBT travelers, new laws have opened up new destinations. LoAnn Halden, media relations director of IGLTA, cited places like Door County, Wisconsin as catering to a new niche market. For the international market, the report noted gay cruises to Asian countries like Cambodia and Vietnam, and even to Central Europe destinations like Croatia.
Rounds said safety and legal protection are still concerns for gay travelers and he stressed the importance when searching for travel destinations to look at their rights on LGBT issues.