The Stonewall Inn, in the gay village of Greenwich, Manhattan, NY (site of the June 1969 Stonewall riots) is the most popular LGBT pilgrimage destination worldwide, shown adorned with rainbow pride flags during the NYC Pride Parade.[1][2][3]

LGBT tourism (or gay tourism) is a form of tourism marketed to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people.[4] People might be open about their sexual orientation and gender identity at times, but less so in areas known for violence against LGBT people.[5][6]

The main components of LGBT tourism include: destinations, accommodations, and travel services wishing to attract LGBT tourists; people looking to travel to LGBT-friendly destinations; people wanting to travel with other LGBT people when traveling regardless of the destination; and LGBT travelers who are mainly concerned with cultural and safety issues.[7] The slang term gaycation has come to imply a version of a vacation that includes a pronounced aspect of LGBT culture, either in the journey or destination.[8] The LGBT tourism industry includes destinations (tourism offices and CVBs), travel agents, accommodations and hotel groups, tour companies, cruise lines, and travel advertising and promotions companies who market these destinations to the gay community.[7] Coinciding with the increased visibility of LGBT people raising children in the 1990s, an increase in family-friendly LGBT tourism has emerged in the 2000s, for instance R Family Vacations which includes activities and entertainment geared towards couples including same-sex weddings. R Family's first cruise was held aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines's Norwegian Dawn with 1600 passengers including 600 children.[9][10]

Major companies in the travel industry have become aware of the substantial money (also known as the "pink money") generated by this marketing niche and have made it a point to align themselves with the gay community and gay tourism campaigns.[11] According to a 2000 Travel University report, 10% of international tourists were gays and lesbians, accounting for more than 70 million arrivals worldwide.[12] This market segment is expected to continue to grow as a result of ongoing acceptance of LGBT people and changing attitudes towards sexual and gender minorities.[7] Outside larger companies, LGBT tourists are offered other traditional tourism tools, such as networks of LGBT individuals who offer each other hospitality during their travels and even home swaps where people live in each other's homes.[13] Also, available worldwide are social groups for resident and visiting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender expatriates and friends.[14]

LGBT travel destinations

Local gay bar in LGBT-friendly Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

LGBT-friendly travel destinations are popularly known because they usually maintain welcoming attitudes, with local leaders and business owners instilling a consciousness and positive awareness of LGBT travelers to their fellow inhabitants and employees. These locales also feature infrastructure, businesses and services whose representatives are sensitive to and friendly with LGBT travelers; this includes everything from bars, travel agencies/guides, restaurants, hotels, resorts, nightlife, entertainment, media, political/legal aid and, more than anything, the opportunity to meet others and socialize.[5][7]

Gay travel destinations are often medium to large cities, and can coincide with the existence of gay neighborhoods. These neighborhoods often work actively to develop their reputations as safe and fun, specifically for LGBT people, to travel to. LGBT travel guide Queer in the World states, "The fabulosity of Gay New York is unrivaled on Earth, and queer culture seeps into every corner of its five boroughs".[15]

The LGBT tourism industry is highly profitable; an average of US$65 billion is spent on gay travel in the US alone, annually. According to In Europe, the gay tourism market has been estimated at €50 billion per year by the Gay European Tourism Association. The adult LGBT community in the US had a total economic spending power of more than $600 billion annually, as of 2007 (according to Witeck-Combs),[16] and by 2016 this had risen to $917 billion.[17] Some governments tend to highlight this for foreign visitors, like the official US website[18] that promotes historic New York places in Greenwich Village, such as the Stonewall Inn or Eve's Hangout,[19] that are well-known sites to visit for Europeans.[20]

Philadelphia was the first destination in the world to create and air a television commercial specifically marketed towards gay tourists. Philadelphia was also the first destination to commission a research study, aimed at a specific destination, to learn about gay travel to a specific city.[21][better source needed]

Tourism planners

The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) holds an annual world convention and four symposia in different tourism destinations around the world.[22] Each symposium attracts over 500 representatives of convention & visitor bureaus, tour agencies and travel publications that specialize in the gay and lesbian market. The association was founded in 1983, and it currently represents over 2000 members. Its headquarters are in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.[23] The "17th International Conference on Gay & Lesbian Tourism" was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, on 11–13 December 2016.

With nine issues a year, Passport Magazine is currently the only gay and lesbian travel magazine still in publication in the United States.[citation needed] It is available internationally. Spartacus International and FunMaps of Maplewood, New Jersey, have promoted gay- and lesbian-friendly businesses since 1982. One of Europe's gay and lesbian travel marketing specialists is Out Now Consulting.

The Gay European Tourism Association (GETA) works to promote and enhance LGBT tourism in Europe.[24]

In 2003, LGBT activist Juan P. Julia Blanch opened the first gay-friendly hotel chain Axel Hotels in several cities and countries around the world.[25][26][27][28][29]

LGBT events

Berlin Pride
Lesbian and Gay City Festival, Berlin

Further information: List of LGBT events

There are a large number of LGBT events, such as:

LGBT travel resources

Many OTA travel websites now feature LGBT travel search options. The most popular travel resources are still ones from local LGBT media organizations and online LGBT news and lifestyle websites.[32][33] Additional destination-specific LGBT travel information is commonly found on niche gay travel blogs.[34] The US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs now offers information about LGBT travel and provides tips about what one can do before traveling. It also provides information about different issues one should take care of before traveling.

In 69 UN member states, there are laws that criminalize consensual same-sex relationships, making it important to check the laws of the country before travelling to avoid issues and persecution.[35]

See also


  1. ^ Goicichea, Julia (August 16, 2017). "Why New York City Is a Major Destination for LGBT Travelers". The Culture Trip. Archived from the original on January 2, 2020. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  2. ^ Rosenberg, Eli (June 24, 2016). "Stonewall Inn Named National Monument, a First for the Gay Rights Movement". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 6, 2020. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  3. ^ "Workforce Diversity The Stonewall Inn, National Historic Landmark National Register Number: 99000562". National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
  4. ^ Greenberg, Peter (2007). The Complete Travel Detective Bible: The Consummate Insider Tells You What You Need to Know in an Increasingly Complex World. Rodale. ISBN 9781594867088. Preview. Archived 2016-05-01 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b Friskopp, Annette; Silverstein, Sharon (1996). Straight Jobs Gay Lives: Gay and Lesbian Professionals, the Harvard Business School, and the American Workplace. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9780684824130. Preview. Archived 2016-04-24 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Wieder, Judy (14 April 2004). "Shipping Out, Olivia Style on the Mexican Riviera: Olivia Cruises is everything people say it is, and absolutely nothing like it". Out Traveller. Archived from the original on 2 February 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d Guaracino, Jeff (2007). Gay and lesbian tourism: the essential guide for marketing. Butterworth-Heinemann. ISBN 9780750682329. Preview. Archived 2015-09-10 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Baughman, James Keir (2003). Villages by an Emerald Sea: America's New Rivera, Northwest Florida's magnificent emerald coast. Baughman Literary Group. ISBN 9780979044304. Preview. Archived 2015-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Q and A with Rosie and Kelli on "All Aboard! Rosie's Family Cruise"". Planet Out. 2006. Archived from the original on 26 May 2006. Retrieved 21 June 2007.
  10. ^ Davis, Andrew (12 January 2005). "Getting Away with R Family Vacations". Windy City Times. Archived from the original on 2 April 2019. Retrieved 21 June 2007.
  11. ^ Danuta Walters, Suzanna (2003). All the rage: the story of gay visibility in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226872322. Preview. Archived 2015-09-10 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Travel University Report: Specialty Travel – Gay". Travel University. Archived from the original on 2012-05-05. Retrieved 2012-04-01.
  13. ^ Home Sweet Swap: Who needs a hotel when you can trade your own abode for a fab flat? Welcome to the world of gay home exchange networks Archived 2009-01-14 at the Wayback Machine by Lauren Ragland; Out Traveler – Spring 2006.
  14. ^ Chesnut, Mark (2002). The gay vacation guide: the best trips and how to plan them. Kensington Books. ISBN 9780758202666. Preview. Archived 2015-09-19 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "". 6 January 2019. Retrieved June 24, 2022.
  16. ^ "The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Population At-A-Glance" (PDF). Witeck-Combs Communications. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-05-10. Retrieved 2021-05-10.
  17. ^ "LGBT Purchasing Power Near $1 Trillion Rivals Other Minorities". 2016-07-20. Archived from the original on 2021-05-10. Retrieved 2021-05-10.
  18. ^ "Profiter de la Pride pour explorer Greenwich Village, New York". Visit The USA. Archived from the original on 2020-09-27. Retrieved 2020-07-01.
  19. ^ Archived 2020-04-11 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Baumgartl, Dirk (December 12, 2019). "NEW YORK: Stadtgeschichten". männer*. Archived from the original on June 2, 2022. Retrieved February 19, 2021.
  21. ^ "Philadelphia". Visit Philadelphia. Archived from the original on 2021-09-16. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  22. ^ "IGLTA Convention". International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. Archived from the original on 2020-01-10. Retrieved 2011-04-21.
  23. ^ "International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association". International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. Archived from the original on 2011-12-14. Retrieved 2011-04-21.
  24. ^ "Home page". Gay European Tourism Association. Archived from the original on 2019-05-06. Retrieved 2015-01-29.
  25. ^ "El armario de… Juan P.Juliá Blanch". (in Spanish). 23 January 2012. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  26. ^ "Axel Hotel In New York? "Gay Hotel" Reportedly Coming To Hell's Kitchen". HuffPost. 18 March 2010. Archived from the original on 4 December 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  27. ^ "Juan Juliá se aferra a la 'patronal gay' pese a llevarse su empresa". Crónica Global (in Spanish). 7 December 2017. Archived from the original on 11 July 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  28. ^ "Первый отель 5* для геев открылся в Буэнос-Айресе". (in Russian). 1 November 2007. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  29. ^ "В Берлине построен дружелюбный к гетеросексулам гей-отель". 5 March 2009. Archived from the original on 4 April 2019. Retrieved 4 December 2019.
  30. ^ "Minnesota's only small town Pride festival will celebrate 10 years on Sunday in Pine City". May 30, 2014. Archived from the original on April 13, 2019. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  31. ^ "2015 Pride Round-Up". May 21, 2015. Archived from the original on October 29, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  32. ^ Groffman, Adam (23 June 2017). "Your Ultimate Guide to LGBT Gay Travel Resources". Travels of Adam. Archived from the original on 25 June 2019. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  33. ^ Tang, Vivienne (4 June 2020). "LGBTQ Travel". Destination Deluxe. Archived from the original on 6 June 2020. Retrieved 4 June 2020.
  34. ^ "Authentic Gay Travel Guides – 100% Vetted Advice". wolfyy. Archived from the original on 2021-12-04. Retrieved 2021-12-04.
  35. ^ "State-Sponsored Homophobia report - 2020 global legislation overview update". ILGA. 2020-12-14. Archived from the original on 2021-05-10. Retrieved 2021-05-10.

Report on the number and value of gay European tourists – by GETA – the Gay European Tourism Association (2013).


Cloud, J. (2010). "Gay Days in the Magic Kingdom". Time, 175(24), 69–70.

Link, M. (2007). "Fantastic family fun". Advocate, (983), 52–53.

Scott Gatz. (2009). Advocate, (1027/1028), 87.