LGBT travel and tourism is a lucrative market these days and with LGBT travellers said to have spent $165 billion by the end of this year, and even more next year, the ‘pink dollar’ is becoming an ever popular term. Out Now, the world’s leading LGBT marketing specialist has, after three years of research and conducting a survey of 100,000 respondents in 24 countries, released their LGBT2020 global tourism report. Respondents were asked which cities in the world they would like to visit in the next three years and the findings were in some parts surprising, and in others expected, with some of the most popular gay-friendly hotspots making the list while some lesser-known previously unranked places also made an appearance. Below is the top ten:
40 percent of citizens in Los Angeles’ West Hollywood, a renowned gay area, identify themselves as LGBT, one of the most concentrated populations in the USA, making it a must-visit destination for gay tourists. Los Angeles is an expensive, fast-moving and high lifestyle city, so if you like that kind of place and can keep up with it, it’s the perfect destination for those wanting a sunny and luxurious getaway to live a dream; the ‘American Dream’.
Known as being one of Europe’s and the world’s most tolerant and liberal cities – and for more than just LGBT rights and people – Amsterdam is a very popular hotspot for gay tourists and with the city’s own information centre (‘Pink Point’) catering especially for them, it’s no wonder many gay people feel more comfortable and welcome being in this small but vibrant city. It also boasts a larger and more diverse gay scene than most other places with no less than one hundred gay-owned bars, club, shops, restaurants and saunas and it was recently named as the third best gay wedding destination.
Most of Asia is known as being very strict or at least ‘silent’ on LGBT people and issues, but Japan, being the continent’s richest and most developed country, is a different story. Tokyo, Japan’s bustling cosmopolitan capital city has got a thriving gay nightlife, despite most of it being underground and less known. However, it now seems that Tokyo has become the gay capital of Asia; hopefully it will set a positive example to the rest of the continent.
The gay hub of not only Argentina, but one of the biggest in Latin America, Buenos Aires is another pleasant surprise on the list. Or is it a surprise? The city also ranked seventh in a list of top ten gay wedding destinations with same-sex sexual activities having been legal since 1887 – yes, long before pretty much any other country in the world, making Argentina one of the world’s most liberal in terms of sexuality. Buenos Aires has in recent years begun to thrive as a gay destination for many and the country is keen to increase its appeal to LGBT tourists.
Gay Paris (said in a French accent) has always been an popular destination for LGBT people veverywhere and is a city that has just about everything to offer; a varied and rich cultural and art scene, luxury shopping, great cuisine and amazing nightlife. Paris is a place where you can escape for a quick but action-packed (or relaxed, if you wish) getaway, so is perfect for those with little time on their hands, and despite it being one of the more expensive places to visit, it’s certainly worth it.
Famed as the ‘gay capital of the USA’, San Francisco is home to one of the largest numbers of gay people per capita than any other city in America and has a rich history and culture in the LGBT movement. This is where some of the first gay riots and gay weddings took place, as well as once being home to and the place of death of activist Harvey Milk. San Fran’s main gay area is The Castro District – not to be confused with Cuba’s political leader, of course – and is the ideal destination for all gay travellers visiting the city, being the USA’s largest gay neighbourhood and one of the country’s first since the mid-1960s.
The recent host city for World Pride may have been tainted with controversy and setbacks, but London still managed to once again prove its staying power as one of the world’s best gay destinations, helped not only by Pride this year but also the Olympics and Britain’s recent improvements in LGBT rights. Probably the world’s most multicultural city, London is not only home to countless different nationalities, races and religious groups but also has a thriving gay population (the highest in the country) and scene, based predominantly around the famous streets of Soho.
We all love hot Aussie boys, right? Well Sydney is definitely one place to find them. It is often mistaken by many uneducated people as Australia’s capital city, but is undeniably the country’s gay capital, with a bustling gay community and area located around Oxford Street, Darlinghurst and Surry Hills. February and March are gay Sydney’s most prominent months when Mardi Gras takes over the city for a nearly entire month, but in September the city is also host to a Big Gay Weekend in association with Gaydar – why don’t other places have celebrations like this?
Rio de Janeiro
You’d have thought that as a city with a huge statue of Jesus Christ as its most prized landmark, Rio de Janeiro would uphold a strong stance against sex and sexuality. But is in fact, the very opposite is true. Rio is one of the world’s most liberal when it comes to such issues. The beauty of Rio de Janeiro lies in the city’s seaside area where the beaches are very popular with gay tourists both day and night, especially its own gay beach, Ipanema, which is part of Rio’s main gay area of the same name and the neighbouring Leblon district. Pride in Rio is also one of the world’s largest and most popular – an estimated two million people visited it in 2010, so is surely more than a sign that this is the place to be if you want to party hard, gay style.
Listed as the eighth most popular gay wedding destination, no doubt boosted by the city’s recent legalisation of same-sex marriage last year and home to one of the ultimate gay rights landmarks, the Stonewall Inn, New York has topped the list of gay travel destinations and it is no big surprise either. New York’s gay scene is not like many other places, where activities are usually concentrated in one area; nowadays, New York’s scene is dotted all around the city in its five districts, although Manhattan probably remains its main hub. As well as the Stonewall Inn, the small park by Christopher Street commemorates the infamous Stonewall riots which took place in 1969, showing that New York is more than just a city to party or get married in but also one of great historical value to its gay community.
Who missed out?
A full list of the top twenty can be found in The Advocate, which shows some other popular gay destinations having missed out on the top ten, including Miami, Berlin, Brcelona and Las Vegas, while surprises came from Cape Town and even Hong Kong. Would you visit any of these places or have you? Let us know below or on Facebook or Twitter!