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Gay Tourism Matters

The Gay European tourism market is worth 50 billion Euros says new research


West, Central and Eastern EuropeThe first ever research into the size and value of the gay tourism market in Europe shows that gay Europeans spend a staggering 50 billion Euros every year on tourism.

What is the gay population of Europe?


The research, by GETA, the Gay European Tourism Association, estimates that the number of out-gay people in the 50 states of Western, Central and Eastern Europe is over 26 million, or 2.6% of the total population of 844 million.

The number of people who are openly gay is greater in Western European countries than in Central Europe, and far greater than in Eastern Europe. Central European countries tend to have a more catholic tradition and have only emerged from communism in the past 30 years. But membership of the European Union with its equality laws is moving social attitudes faster than would otherwise be expected.

Gays represent 8% of the €632 European tourism market, but are only 2.6% of the population. That makes them a gold-mine for savvy marketers.

In Eastern Europe, which includes Turkey and states from the former Soviet Union, where there are, for example, many Muslims, it is more difficult to be an out homosexual and the proportion of the population that is openly gay is far less than in the rest of Europe.

“This figure reflects the difference between western European countries where homosexuality is more accepted and those countries in Eastern Europe where, if not illegal, homosexuality is frowned upon” said GETA Communications Director, Paul Barnes.


A higher-income group

High-spending travellersEven though the proportion of out-gay people is relatively small, their spending power is disproportionately large. The European Commission estimates that the direct tourism industry in the Europe Union, which accounts for the majority of European tourism, is worth 5% of GDP, or some 632 billion Euros. This puts gay spending at around 8% of that total.

The reason for this is well rehearsed. Gay people tend not to have children. First, this boosts their incomes, as both partners benefit from having child-free careers. And secondly, gays have more disposable income, free from the costs of children and schooling and without the desire to leave large inheritances.


Who spend more on tourism

The study looks at research undertaken in certain European countries and comparisons with trends in the USA to estimate the total spend of out-gay European people on tourism.

The total gay market for hotels, resorts and other tourism companies in Europe is far greater than this. Europe remains the most popular overseas destination for gay American tourists who are estimated to spend over $64 billion annually on tourism. Add to this the increasing number of gay tourists from South America, Asia and Australia and GETA estimate the total spend by gay travellers globally is around $200 billion each year.


“Not only is this market a valuable niche for tourist companies with gay people having higher disposable income and a higher propensity to travel than their straight friends” said Paul Barnes, “but it is also easy to market to, with a smaller number of widely read magazines and websites”.

GETA aims to use its research to encourage hotels and travel companies to work proactively to welcome more gay customers.


The full research report can be seen HERE >


What would you like to know?

Get involved. Tell us what research you'd like to see GETA undertake. What would you like to know about gay tourists? What knowledge would you like other members to share? What statistics would you find useful?


CLICK HERE to contact us with your suggestions.


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