Tourism Industry News
Gay travellers look to independent options
Traditional gay holidays are stressful and offer too little in the way of relaxation and local culture, according to research commissioned by luxury tour operator, aspire+.
Faced with the stereotypical holiday based around sex, drugs and all-night clubbing, most gay men would rather travel independently or with like-minded groups, the survey found.
Almost 70 percent of those surveyed said they would prefer taking an Elephant-back Safari in Zambia or exploring Moyenne Island in the Seychelles than hitting the nightlife in Gran Canaria, Sitges or Mykonos.
Three quarters said they enjoyed clubbing “only occasionally”, whilst a staggering 82 per cent said that “proximity to a gay scene” was not a factor in their choice of holiday destination.
“Our existing gay clients say they get enough of ‘the scene’ at home,” says aspire+’s Marketing Director, Lorraine Brodrick, . “They are turning away from what they now see as gay-ghetto destinations.
“The fact is, clients say that ‘a night in an over-priced bar watching an out of work navvy mime to Gloria Gaynor, followed by dancing until noon in a multi-story car park isn’t every gay man’s idea of a great holiday!’”
The trend has come about with the broad acceptance of Civil Partnerships and more liberal attitudes towards same-sex travelling couples, which has created a boom amongst a previously silent majority of the gay travel market, many of whom are now over 30.
The research supports the 2007 VisitBritain survey, which found that gay men want sophistication in travel, but still like to book with an operator who ‘speaks their language’.
In another recent customer survey, aspire+ found that 10.8% of their existing clients were interested in gay-friendly destinations.
Gay couples cite the hotel check-in experience, where double-bedded room reservations are often changed to twin beds without even asking the client, as their most difficult few minutes of a holiday.
Last UK government census estimated 1.47 million gay men in the country, of which it is conservatively estimated that 810,000 fit the ABC1 socioeconomic profile.
It’s been estimated, Gay men spend in excess of 5% of their total income on up to four holidays a year.