The lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender sector is making a dynamic and influential contribution to the global tourism industry, according to World Travel & Tourism Council president David Scowsill.
Addressing the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, Scowsill explained the LGBT market in the United States alone is estimated to be over US $55 billion and around US$165 billion globally.
Significantly, the LGBT sector is growing faster than the broader tourism economy, growing by almost ten per cent in 2012 year-on-year, against global growth of the industry of around three per cent.
Scowsill explained: “This is because travel is a way of life for a lot of people in this world, whatever their sexuality.
“Even in the toughest times, it continues to be a priority for populations around the world.
“Travel drives economies and creates jobs.
“Even in challenging economic times, it still has the potential to grow, as consumer appetite for travel beyond national borders remains undimmed.”
Despite the higher growth among LGBT travellers and the fact that the sector is viewed by marketers, tour operators, product development specialists and advertisers as a niche market, the sector faces the same challenges as the rest of the industry – restrictions on personal movement, high taxes and the long-term sustainability of the industry.
These are the three strategic priorities that underpin the work of WTTC as it seeks to gain global understanding of the economic and social contribution of an industry which represents nine per cent of global GDP and supports one in 11 of all jobs on the planet.