GAY TOURISM SHOWS DOUBLE THE GROWTH

Gay Madrid

Spain may be celebrating record tourists in 2013, with 60.66 million visitors representing an increase of 5.6% over 2012, surpassing the previous record of 2007 of 58.6 million, but there is one sector of tourism that continues to grow at an even higher rate than expected.

For years, the clever tour operators and businesses have focussed on the value of the so called “pink pound”, attempting to attract the seemingly more affluent gay an lesbian sectors of society, whose perceived general lack of children often means more disposable income, one top choice for the gay traveller is seeing an incredible growth.

The popular Gran Canaria resort of Maspalomas has shown a 10.3% increase in gay tourism in 2013, compared to 3.8% of none-gay visitors, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council and the World Tourism Organization. According to these sources, the gay community is now responsible for 10% of the volume of international tourists and just over 15% of global spending.

It is therefore no wonder that this week´s annual FITUR tourism event in Madrid has had an area dedicated to gay travel, as well as one for business and also for the environmentally friendly, where spokesperson Juan Pedro Tudela explained the benefits of those without children who can travel to further destination and at a less seasonally restrictive timetable.

The city of Tel Aviv in Israel, Cape Town in South Africa or theme cruises are some of the trends that the gay community are showing interest in at Fitur, with Tudela explaining that Tel Aviv is the fastest growing destination “something that seemed unthinkable a few years ago”, especially for those looking to attend its gay pride party, and by preparing well in advance, you are sure that attendees are eligible for offers and discounts.

Cruising is also a safe bet for both gay and lesbian travellers, but it is the classic destinations that remain the favourite, such as Ibiza and Sitges, as well as the beaches of the Canary Islands, especially Maspalomas, and the city of Madrid.

In May of this year, Madrid will host the Annual Convention of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) that was first developed in Spain, an event that will make “the value” of gay tourism, with plans to discuss the “flow of tourism for the next 10 or 15 years”, according to Tudela.

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