Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

NYC again tops SF with LGBT tourists

Baghdad-by-the-Bay continues to be second banana to the Big Apple with LGBT travelers.

For the 16th year running New York City ranked as the top destination in 2011 for LGBT tourists, with San Francisco sharing second place with Sin City when it comes to vacationers domestically. The rankings are similar when business travel is added to the mix, though Chicago also shares in the second spot.

The findings are based on an annual study conducted by Castro-based Community Marketing, Inc.

“New York City has been the number one LGBT destination in the USA throughout CMI’s 16 years of LGBT travel sampling, and the city has slightly increased the distance over the traditional second and third place cities of San Francisco and Las Vegas,” states the firm in its recently released report.

But San Francisco can still claim to be gay mecca as more survey respondents named the city one of their top three “gay-friendly” destinations than any other metropolitan area. With 18 percent out of 18,000 participants, San Francisco ranked first, ahead of New York with 10 percent.

Officially titled “CMI’s 16th Annual LGBT Tourism Study,” the yearly survey also found that the Big Easy continues to make strides in attracting LGBT fun seekers. As with straight travelers, LGBT tourists had avoided New Orleans after several devastating hurricanes crashed into the country’s Gulf Coast area six years ago.

Not only has Louisiana experienced a bounce back, Florida’s beach resorts are also seeing a revival in LGBT stays. Orlando, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale all rank among the top 10 cities for gay and bisexual men to visit, with Orlando in the top 10 for lesbian and bisexual women.

“New Orleans continues to gain visitors and is approaching pre-Katrina rankings,” CMI found this year. “Miami has significantly increased its LGBT tourism and has jumped back into the top ten for USA destinations.”

Despite the lingering economic downturn, LGBT people are increasing their travel. It is a turnaround from two years ago, when LGBT vacationers began to drop.

“Overall, the LGBT community has increased their travel in the last year, compared to the year before. Most destinations surveyed increased LGBT travel by 1 to 3 percent in the past year,” the report found. “This is in contrast to the last two years, which saw a decrease in LGBT travel due to the global economic recession, the first time in over 16 years of sampling.”

LGBT events continue to be a major draw with travelers. And interestingly, boycotts of destinations due to anti-gay laws don’t appear to be a successful strategy with LGBT people.

While boycotts of antigay companies do work, CMI found with its focus groups that “destination boycotts are not effective because many LGBT people don’t penalize local communities / people because of national or state laws.”

The one thing that can turn LGBT people off of a certain place is reports of gay bashings or other antigay incidents.

The report found that “a destination’s reputation for anti‐gay violence is a closer predictor than anti‐gay laws in deterring LGBT travel. News stories about gay bashing in a destination may in fact be more damaging than anti-‐gay laws (although these two considerations are often related).”

The full report can be downloaded here.


— Matthew S. Bajko, December 22, 2011 @ 4:53 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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