New Research in Gay Travel

By Jeff Guaracino Vice President, Communications, Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp | October 28, 2008

For 14 years, Community Marketing has been collecting and analyzing data on gay travelers. Community Marketing acknowledges that its research is based upon self-identified gay travelers and has limitations. However, no other organization knows more about gay travel research than CMI. In October 2006, Community Marketing Incorporated released its 11th Annual Gay and Lesbian Tourism Profile 2006. Community Marketing based its data and conclusions on 7,500 self-identified gay and lesbian consumers who belong to gay mailing lists, subscribe to gay publications, visit gay web sites or in some way elect to take a gay travel survey.

Safety, progressive politics (such as gay marriage) and even immigration (policies that don't discriminate against gay people) all play a factor in travel decisions. The latest research found that among gay travelers the top seven U.S. destinations are New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles-West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Ft. Lauderdale and Chicago. The top seven European cities are London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Florence and Venice ties with Berlin.

Here is Community Marketing's methodology for this latest study:

"During August 2006, Community Marketing, Inc. conducted an online survey of openly-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults. The goal for this study was to survey LGBT consumers regarding their travel habits and motivators, and to provide data and insight to the gay and lesbian tourism industry. With a sample size of 6,721, the margin of error is 1.2% at a 95% confidence interval. Respondents to this survey are subscribers to various Internet and print media, and therefore represent lesbians and gay men who can be reached using the media.

Community Marketing has developed its survey pool over the last eleven years by partnering with leading media companies includingGay.com, PlanetOut.com, GayWired.com, LesbiaNation.com, Gay Travel News, Passport, Curve,Instinct, HX, Genre, and others. Subscribers to various email lists received an invitation to take a gay/lesbian travel survey; however, no attempt was made to pre-qualify the invitations to survey only people who travel. The incentive offered to respondents to complete the survey was one chance out of all respondents to win a $500 gift card. This methodology polls LGBT consumers who represent the target audience of gays and lesbians who can be reached using print and the Internet. We make no attempt in this survey to define the size of the LGBT population, nor to invade the privacy of our respondents by asking them to "out" themselves in a random survey, which as demonstrated in the 2000 U.S. Census, grossly underestimates the size of the gay population. It should be kept in mind that the findings derive from those who identify openly as gay and subscribe lesbian and gay publications and websites. These results should not necessarily be extrapolated to the entire gay and lesbian population; however, these findings do provide guidance regarding the perceptions and opinions of "out" gay travelers who can be reached through gay websites and publications."

The following gay and lesbian travel demographics come directly from the CMI 2006 study:

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