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The Geography of LGBT Tourism

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Michael Leonard

on 26 May 2018

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Transcript of The Geography of LGBT Tourism

The Geography of LGBT Tourism
Michael Leonard - mrl6@hi.is
March 20th, 2015
What is gay tourism?
Why is it important?
Who is the gay tourist?
Motivations and the Market
Discrimination and Gay Rights
Marketing and Media
Accommodation, destinations, and other travel services.
Growing acceptance = growing demand = growing market!
LGBT tourism (or gay tourism) is a niche market catering to LGBT (and LGBT friendly) populations.
A quick definition...
In 2011, estimated 100+USD billion industry
Do we study gay tourism?
Yes...kind of. We're starting to more. But still relatively under researched.
Academia is a wild world for tourism studies: anthropology, geography, economics, psychology, philosophy, sociology....and gender studies.
Some important academic texts/scholars to know:
Howard Hughes:
2006. CABI
Clift, Luongo, Callister:
2002. Continuum
Waitt and Markwell:
2006. Psychology Press.
Resilient market
The HIS/HER-story of Gay Tourism
Largely undocumented --> taboo for much of modern history
Bias in favor of men
19th Century
Victorian era.

Men from Northern Europe to Southern Europe
Parallel to Grand Tour (roughly 1700-1800)
20th Century
Openness in artistic communities
Gertrude Stein's Paris
Greenwich Village - NYC
Weimar Republic
Late - 20th Century:
Post-WWII: 'White Flight'
Gay ghettoization
Slow shift for gay ghettos
The Advent of the Gay Destination
Late 20th century - gay specific destinations
Core-periphery model.
Often a coastal outpost
New York - Fire Island
London - Brighton
Gay Travel Guides
Damron's - 1964
Spartacus - 1970
1998 - LONDON
First city to openly campaign for gay tourism
2000 - 10% of tourists estimated to be LGBT
2011 - $142 billion worldwide industry ($70 billion in US alone)
Contested because of biological, sociological, religious, geographic, political, and even economic factors.
Gay vs. Homosexual
Mid-20th Century: Gay becomes more common than homosexual.
Why? Not entirely sure. But there are theories:
gay = happy
'good as you'
umbrella term (men, women)
distinction between sexual preference and open lifestyle of being gay
The Nature of Homosexuality
Howard Hughes (2006): 2 views on the nature of homosexuality
1) Essentialist
2) Social Constructionist
Biological determinism
Homosexuality has existed at all times and in all places
Recent studies showing the 'gay gene'
Less focus on categorization; more focus on identity theory
Since 19th Century - people began being identified as homosexual
Kraftt-Ebing (1840-1902): homosexuality as a disorder
1960s- Foucault - homosexuality as identity
How is homosexual identity connected to the idea of gay culture? Can gay culture exist in a place where homosexuality is unrecognized?
Identity further complicates understanding the gay market: seen as a social construction itself (Altman, 1997)
Identity is performative; sexual orientation/preferences are not.
Homosexual identity is one (small?) piece of a greater identity puzzle
No single 'gay identity'
"Homosexuals do not share a common core of experiences, interests and way of life" (Hughes, 2006)
Importance of community: Benedict Anderson's 'imagined communities'
What are gay tourist motivations?
Sun, sea, sand
visiting family/friends
Hmmm...those don't seem so different from everyone else.
Gay-specific travel motivations:
Sex Tourism in the Gay Community
Much focus has been put on the gay community, travel, and sexual promiscuity
Likely because of HIV/AIDS
Is this actually a motivating factor? Maybe.
Clift and Page (1996) claim that it's not a more significant motivating factor than in heterosexual populations
Opportunities for leisure are important to identity construction.
Leisure can be connected to socialization. (Hughes, 2006)
Gay space is defined as "a concentration of bars and clubs, but also saunas, cafes, shops, residences and public space for social interactions" (Hindle, 1994)
Urban versus rural areas for gay space
The "Market":
A Theoretical Overview
"Gay Marketing Moment" - viewed as a dream market.
Is there a basis for a 'gay market'? Maybe. Maybe not.
Fugate (1993): Says 'no'. No homogenous behavior.
Basing a market on sexual orientation is arguing for psychographic characteristics (feelings, emotions, attitudes). Usually, market segmentation is done based on demographics (age, gender, income, etc.)
Yes, it's a market!
Because business wants it to be one. ($$)
Market Characteristics
Difficult to calculate
Kinsey report (1948, 1953) - 10%
Estimates depend on who you ask
Shown to be above-average in partnered households
Early 1990s: gay men had 41% higher; lesbians had 26% higher than their heterosexual counterparts.
Seen to be different (luxury items, high spending)
This is problematic and biased
The rise of the metrosexual
The tourism industry is directly impacted by LGBT political issues.
Risk Avoidance Theory
Framework for establishing destination choice (Hughes, 2006)
Importance of gay friendliness to destination choice
Usual travel risks plus risk of discrimination
Anti-gay images are inhibiting factors
Gay Rights Movement
1969 - NYC - Stonewall Riots
2014 - Sochi - Olympic Games
Anti-discrimination Laws and Tourism
Example: Hall vs. Bull (2013)
Gay Marriage
2001 - The Netherlands
2010 - Iceland
2013 - DOMA unconstitutional
Gay marriage campaigns:
Gay marriage = gay weddings/honeymoons = PINK $
Increasing number -> impacts tourism
Queer as Folk (Manchester, UK/Pittsburgh, PA)
The L Word - West Hollywood, CA
Looking - San Francisco
GAY-specific product promotion
Gay Games
Circuit Parties
1969 - First Pride parade held in NYC after Stonewall Riots
Today - SF Pride is largest in the world
Controversial because of consumerism/capitalism/sponsorship
August 2012 - 1st Pride Parade in Uganda
1982 - San Francisco
1994 - more athletes in NY than at 1992 Olympics in BCN
2014 - will be in Cleveland, OH
RSVP Vacations
Rosie O' Donnell's - rFamily cruises
Atlantis Events
OUT Adventures
HE Travel
Olivia Tours
Zoom Vacations
Let's take a look at some of the gay (and not-so-gay) places in our world....but first:
A video:
(There's no real reason why this is positioned over Greenland)

Gay Friendly Destinations
Lonely Planet -2013
1. San Francisco
2. Sydney
3. Brighton
4. Amsterdam
5. Berlin
6. Puerto Vallarta
7. New York
8. Rio de Janeiro
9. Prague
10. Bangkok
Spartacus - 2013 - Gay Travel Index
Community Marketing Insights
ITB - BERLIN - 2013
Gay Marketing Agencies
First gay marketing agency opens in 1992 in Sydney; also operates in Amsterdam
San Francisco based market research agency.
First stop...
"Get your history straight and your nightlife gay"
Key West
Key West, Florida
Now....to somewhere not so friendly.
Next stop...Europe:
Time to go....down under.
New Zealand - Australia
Pink Flights
To the Middle East...
Gay Travel in the Middle East??
Should LGBT travelers visit destinations that are known to be anti-gay?
LAST stop....
Strong potential for gay travel market
Takk fyrir!
Based on what we've learned, what makes Iceland an optimal destination for LGBT travelers?
Full transcript