The Gay Tourism Expo, held in Bergamo, Italy, this year, has just closed. The most interesting figure emerged from this edition? Gay tourism generates a turnover of €2.5 billion per year. This unbelievable conclusion was the result of the first study on the Italian segment carried out by GfKEurisko and presented during the exhibition.
LGBT tourists – research says – have several common features. Higher education: 44 per cent of LGBT tourists have a diploma compared with 37 per cent of them who have a degree. Job type: 17 per cent of LGBT travellers are freelancers (against 3 per cent on average in the adult population), 12 per cent are managers (against 3 per cent), 26 per cent are employees (against 16 per cent). Accordingly, they have a higher income: 42 per cent have a €1,500 to €3,000 wage per month compared with 28 per cent of the Italian adult population with equal abilities.
Gay, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender travel more than the rest of the Italian population (56 per cent against 45 per cent), doing more holidays throughout the year. 75 per cent of tourists did at least a holiday in the last 12 months: 56 per cent left for more than 10 days, 57 per cent left for weekends (compared with 33 per cent of the remaining Italian population) and 35 per cent on business trips.
They prefer to go abroad for long holidays: only 49 per cent of them choose Italy, but the average of the Italian population is 74 per cent. They rather travel across Europe (36 per cent against 20 per cent of other Italian consumers) and overseas (15 per cent against 6 per cent). The most favourite destination overseas is North America. The main factors are climate, cooking and wellbeing (28 per cent in case of long holidays and 22 per cent in case of weekends) as well as art and culture (17 per cent in long holidays and 21 per cent in weekends).
The top gay-friendly destinations are Mikonos (32 per cent), Barcelona (15 per cent), Ibiza (13 per cent) followed by Spain, Stiges, Greece, Gran Canaria, San Francisco, Berlin, London, Amsterdam and New York. Gallipoli is chosen by 4 per cent of tourists compared with Miami and Rome (3 per cent). 30 per cent of them have no budget restrictions and 37 per cent of them resort to professionals to book their holiday. 62 per cent of them opt for art and culture, whereas 67 per cent of them want to learn local traditions of places visited. Most of them (39 per cent) look for friendly holidays and facilities, where they can feel accepted and relaxed.
LGBT tourists mainly live alone (38 per cent) and in 45 per cent of cases they hide their sexual orientation.