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Globetrender Predicts 8 Trends for Queer Travel: Gay Families Top the List

LBGTQ+ travel is expected to exceed $568.5 billion by 2030 according to a new forecast report by Globetrender, The Future of Queer Travel, which also identifies eight trends that will shape the future of travel for the queer market. Among the predicted trends are Queer Family Travel, Limelight Gaycations, Rainbow Rebellions, Polydays and Pride Power, reflecting the evolution of the wants and needs of LGBTQ+ consumers.

“For the travel industry, this is a clear indication of distinct market opportunities. It is also an urgent call for better understanding and appreciation of this growing and richly varied consumer group, ”Jenny Southan, editor, founder and CEO of Globetrender.
Jenny Southan, editor, founder and CEO of Globetrender presents the Future of Queer Travel in London
Jenny Southan, editor, founder and CEO of Globetrender presents the Future of Queer Travel report in London at the Mondrian Shoreditch

Growing LGBTQ+ Travel Market

“Over the past ten years, the queer travel market has grown enormously – when travel was at its peak before the pandemic, travel spending from queer people reached US$218 billion worldwide,” said Jenny Southan, editor, founder and CEO of Globetrender. “By 2030, experts predict that travel spending by queer travellers could reach US$568.5 billion.”

“Why? Firstly, queer travellers are more intrepid and hungry for travel than ever before. Secondly, in many cases, they also have more disposable income. And thirdly, the population of people who identify as queer is increasing. In 2021, a landmark UK Census revealed that 6.9% of Gen Zs identified as LGB+ compared with 3.5% of Millennials, and 1.6% of Boomers.

Why is Globetrender Using the Term Queer?

Southan noted: “Globetrender uses ‘queer’ as an umbrella term for people who are not heterosexual or are not cisgender. In the past, queer was used as a derogatory slur, but we feel the time is right to reclaim it, and use ‘queer’ as a simple, inclusive alternative to the ever-expanding acronym of LGBTQIA+.”

Opportunities for Hoteliers

“For the travel industry, this is a clear indication of distinct market opportunities (particularly among people under the age of 45). It is also an urgent call for better understanding and appreciation of this growing and richly varied consumer group.” She added: “In terms of progress for LGBTQ+ human rights, there are steps forward and steps backwards. Gay marriage is legal in 34 countries (up from just one in 2001) but homosexuality is still illegal in 67 countries. In 2023, the president of Uganda signed one of the world’s toughest anti-LGBTQ laws, but at the same time, Latvia welcomed the modern world’s first openly gay president."

“At Globetrender, we are optimists. We strongly believe in travel as the ultimate expression of freedom, and a unifying force that brings people closer together.”

Read excerpts of five of the eight trends below, and the full 50-page report can be downloaded for free from Globetrender.

Trend 1: Rise of Queer Family Travel

The number one trend in the report is Queer Family Travel, acknowledging that queer families have only been legal for roughly 20 years and Millennials are the first generation to embrace queer parenting in a socially accepting way, as well as having legal rights and protections.

However, queer families have to be mindful about where they visit as the rules and rights of queer parents in some destinations remain complex. “A big reason we chose Queer Family Travel as our number-one trend is because more and more rainbow families are emerging – in 2019 there were almost quarter of a million same-sex families in the UK, an increase of 40% since 2015,” said Southan.

“It was also because of the publication of an important milestone book last month – The Queer Parent: Everything you Need to Know from Gay to Ze – which was co-authored by my wife Lotte Jeffs and Stu Oakley. My wife and I have a young daughter and Stu is a gay married man with three adopted children.

“In this book they highlight some of the unique challenges we face when travelling as queer parents, such as how we are ‘outed’ all the time by cries of ‘Mummy, Mama’ or ‘Daddy, Papa’. What this means is that queer families need to be far more discerning and thoughtful about where they visit to ensure they won’t encounter homophobia.”

Trend 2: Limelight Gaycations

Limelight Gaycations is a trend which sees LGBTQ+ travelers inspired by popular TV shows and movies––according to a 2023 survey by American Express, 64% of respondents said they made travel plans or were inspired to visit a specific country or destination after it was featured as a filming location. Globetrender expects this to increase "especially as there is so much more positive queer content appearing on screens."

Recently, “masseria” rentals in Italy experienced a surge in Google searches following the first series of BBC’s gay reality dating show "I Kissed A Boy", which is set in a stunning renovated farmhouse in Italy.

According to Globetrender, the hottest example of a TV show that has made headlines not only for its brilliant storytelling but for its cast of camp and queer characters is The White Lotus, Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, and season two in Sicily, at the San Domenico Palace, Taormina, a Four Seasons hotel. Bookings exploded to such an extent after it aired in autumn 2022 that the travel industry has been calling it “The White Lotus Effect” and there are high hopes for season three, which will be set in the queer-friendly country of Thailand.

Trend 3: Rainbow Rebellions

A sense of defiance combined with entitlement motivates the “Rainbow Rebellions,” trend to travel to places such as the Middle East, Africa, Jamaica, Malaysia and China, where queer people must sacrifice personal liberties in order to explore these destinations with anti-LGBT laws. For a lot of privileged Westerners (especially Millennials) for whom travel has felt like a right, being queer is not enough of a reason not to go somewhere. Also, local laws tend to be enforced more on local people than foreign tourists and so long as queer travellers “keep their heads down” they can avoid confrontations.

Trend 4: Polydays

In their report, Globetrender looked at the growing number of polyamorous relationships, "a form of ethical non-monogamy that sees individuals forming romantic connections with more than one partner at the same time," predicting this will be "travel’s new “sharing economy.” Citing statistics from Newsweek, in 2021, one in nine Americans have been in a polyamorous relationship and one in six would like to try one, and data from dating app Feeld which shows there was a 500% increase in searches for “polyamory” in 2022.

Future of Queer Travel Report 2023
Pride holidays are soaring and present opportunity for hotels

Globetrender coined the term Polydays for this trend, which will see an increase in the number of "throuples" and other people in polyamorous relationships booking trips together in the coming years.

Trend 5: Pride Power

For many queer people, travelling to take part in Pride parades and parties are a major event in the annual calendar. They're also a great way to meet new people, be freer for self-expression and experience cities at their most wild and fun. Last year, Gay Times magazine revealed that 60% of the LGBTQ+ community seek out experiences such as Pride when away from home. Tapping into the “pink pound”, Pride events can be very lucrative for the travel industry.

For more, download the full 50-page Future of Queer Travel report, which deep dives into the eight trends; includes interviews with collaborators as well as case studies on Discover New England, Contiki, Trixie Motel, X passports, Celebrity Cruises All-Inclusive Photo Project, Lightning Travel Recruitment and more.


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