SURVEY: LGBT Travel Bouncing Back; New York Is Queer Vacation Capital

Community Marketing Inc. has released the results of its most recent survey of LGBT travel habits, and the overall trend seems to be that gay travel is on the upswing despite a lackluster global economy: Roughly a third of both gay men and lesbians increased how many times they traveled in the past 12 months.

Other findings of the survey, taken by more than 5,700 LGBT participants, include:

1. Both lesbians and gay men picked warm-weather destinations as their first option for vacation destinations, but lesbians were more likely to choose resorts, beaches and outdoor activities. Gay men were more inclined to opt for cities with more cultural institutions.

2. Nearly 80% of LGBT Americans hold a valid passport. Of that number, 54% of gay men and 47% of lesbians used their passport to travel to another country in the past year. Considering only 30-35% of all Americans even have passports, that’s a pretty impressive statistic.

3. Whether a company had a reputation for being gay-friendly had a significant impact on buying purchases, most prominently in retail stores, hotels and destinations themselves.

4. Of U.S. cities visited by LGBT travelers, the most popular were: New York (29%), Chicago and San Francisco (23-24%),  Las Vegas, Washington DC and Los Angeles (20-21%). The post popular international destinations were Canada, England, France, Mexico and Spain.

The full survey results are available at the Community Marketing Inc website.

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  • tdx3fan

    Fact: The actual population of the gay “community” is unknown. That makes it IMPOSSIBLE to do an actual random study on gay people period.

    Fact: Trying to apply the results of a web survey to any population as a whole (even a known one) is beyond ignorant.

    Fact: The results should simply read “of the people that participated in our survey…” not “the gay community…” Overgeneralizing the results makes you look moronic and gives you serious issues in creditability.

  • JoeWatchesTV

    I wonder if Chicago would be as popular a destination without IML? Do travelers really plan trips to Chicago that don’t involve business?

    Nothing against the city, I think it’s lovely. I just never saw it as a travel destination.

  • Tom

    To JoeWatchesTV: We have observed Chicago’s rise to the top tier of LGBT leisure destinations over the past 5 years or so. Some of it has to do with IML, and some with the Gay Games. Visitors who experience a city for an event and have a good time are likely to return. And of course some go there on business and extend for a mini-vacation. But a lot of it has to do with a younger generation of LGBTs who are attracted to fun “urban” destinations with lots to do, somewhat at the cost of the more traditional resort destinations (Fort Lauderdale, Palm Springs, etc.). Younger LGBTs are somewhat less inclined to go to a “gay mecca” and more open to a mixed gay/straight environment. The gradual rise of Chicago is consistent with the trends we’ve observed in our surveys over the past several years.

  • FStratford

    Palm Springs is surrounded by the hateful part of California and Fort Lauderdale is in a state that hates gay marriage.

    Gay travelers are just redistributing their $ to cities that are surrounded by metropolises that love them. IL has Civil Unions (and that’s big for a midweswtern state, except for IA) and NY has gay marriage.

  • GayBacon

    A lot of my friends have visited Chicago, mostly because of business or events sponsored by college organizations(fraternities having a get together for the region). The only reason I would go is if I needed to or was dragged along. San Francisco and NYC are definitely on top of my list for US cities to visit. Maybe NYC for new years this time :)…so cliche i know but eh, why not

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