Most popular gay tourism hotspots for 2013 revealed
New research reveals which travel destinations hold the most appeal to one of the most valuable niche demographics - the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) travel market.
The United Kingdom and London are the big improvers in this year's rankings released by Out Now Business Class www.OutNowBusinessClass.com - the world's leading LGBT business networking membership association.
France is up but Paris is down - and the US has dropped two rankings as a desired LGBT tourism destination in 2013.
The findings are the first data to be released from the Out Now Global LGBT2020 Tourism Report 2013 edition - which will be revealed in full at the leading global event for the tourism industry, World Travel Market (WTM) in London this November.
For the first time, there is also a dedicated LGBT sector exhibition space - Out Now Business Class at WTM, which will significantly increase visibility, market access and networking opportunities for exhibitors - such as airlines, destinations, hotels, tour operators, marketing specialists and others. The LGBT pavilion at WTM will dramatically increase exhibitors' B2B networks, allowing them to extend their consumer reach and significantly expand their own share of global LGBT tourism.
The latest LGBT2020 research shows there is much business development work to be done by the industry.
France has moved up - and is now the number one most desired destination country for the more than 6% of the total global tourism industry that identify as LGBT.
The US has lost its top spot, falling from first to third this year. One of the biggest improvers as the industry heads towards 2013 - and apparently basking in the Olympics afterglow - is the UK, which moved up from fourth place to second.
Talk of the Eurozone crisis has not deterred LGBT travellers who have pushed Greece up the rankings to appear in the top 10 most desired gay destinations globally. Italy also moved up while Spain dropped two places.
Out Now is the world's premier global LGBT market specialist, and the new LGBT2020 global tourism report for 2013 is the result of three years of research data collected from almost 100,000 respondents in 24 countries. Sampling has been undertaken in 12 languages and this year comparative data for respondents from Israel, India and Turkey are included for the first time.
Respondents were asked which of a large number of listed countries and cities they wanted to visit in the next three years.
LGBT tourism is big business. In 2012, Out Now's research showed that the total tourism spend by LGBT people globally will exceed USD$165 billion.
In terms of most popular gay cities, New York has remained in the number one position for the second year running. However, NYC is being very closely challenged by Rio de Janeiro in second place, which moved up one place and pushed Sydney down to third place.
Darren Cooper, Senior Consultant at Out Now based in London said the results contained some surprises and a few wake-up calls.
"The latest LGBT2020 tourism research data from Out Now Business Class is one of the year's most anticipated releases, as we track global LGBT tourism trends the industry needs to know in order to optimally position for this potentially lucrative market," Cooper said. "This year it seems that Team GB can take credit for a few more wins as both London and the UK have seen significant improvements in their appeal to this market. When you consider the scale of the LGBT market opportunity, moving up or down a notch can mean hundreds of millions difference in tourism revenues for a destination."
Cooper added that the research revealed regional differences between respondent countries. "India and Turkey were quite different from many of the other countries," Cooper said. "If you are looking at targeting emerging markets you need to understand these differences if you are to succeed. Interestingly London was the top European destination for many markets such as the US and Australian samples, but respondents from Latin America were generally more interested in Paris than in London. It was also quite noticeable this year that Latin American LGBT respondents in particular have turned away from the United States as a desired travel destination for 2013 and beyond."