SPAIN is the biggest European destination for gay and lesbian tourists, according to new research from international investment firm LGBT Capital.
The company’s global study of the financial impact of LGBT travel and tourism found that the market brings in $6.8 billion (€6.04 billion) per year to Spain, with France next on $6.6 billion (€5.86 billion). The UK was in fourth place, with gay and lesbian tourists generating around $4.9 billion (€4.35 billion).
Spain’s growing, gay-friendly image is at least in part due to progressive legislation, the nation being the third in Europe to bring in marriage equality in 2005. And a major survey in 2014 picked out the country as the most gay-friendly in the world, with the lowest number of people saying they disapproved of same-sex relationships.
But huge festivals are also a big part of the draw, with Madrid’s Pride in July believed to be the biggest in the world, and cities across Spain creating events in a deliberate effort to draw in gay and lesbian holidaymakers.
The investment company that carried out the study argues that it is more than worthwhile to take extra steps to welcome gay tourism.
Paul Thompson, LGBT Capital’s founder, said: “Not only does the LGBT consumer represent significant spending power but as is generally accepted, due to more frequent and longer trips, the sector punches well above its weight when it comes to tourism spend.”