Category: Sociology

The free market of tourism is the most democratic and free from prejudices environment. The simple rule if there is a demand there is proposal is applicable to hospitality as well as to any other business. The market has a corresponding segment; therefore, it requires a special product. Tourism field is not an exception from this rule. While social attitude towards equal rights of representatives of LGBT community is the controversial and hot issue in public mind, modern businessmen just act creating attractive touristic destinations for gay tourists and receiving additional benefit from this group. Every year, more hotels, resorts, and even individual towns call themselves "gay-friendly,” receiving the flow of such kind of tourists and financial benefit from them. Providing gay tourists with equal rights can bring significant benefit to hospitality business, however, it should implemented taking into account cultural and national features of localization of touristic destination.

Legal and Ethical Base for Providing Gay Tourists with Equal Rights

The formal definition of providing equal rights for gay tourists is not limited to the concept of gay tourism. It is one of the varieties of niche tourism, intended for recreation gay, lesbian, and bisexual and transgender people. For the development of tourism and attraction of gay tourists in a particular resort, first and foremost, a standard set such as a developed touristic infrastructure is needed. However, there are a number of special requirements, such as the availability of specialized institutions for gays (clubs, bars, saunas, hotels, etc.) and specialized travel agencies. In addition, of the local population and authorities to gay tourists, development of legislation in the field of protection of the rights of gays and lesbians is considerable importance, as well as events and activities of gay culture (gay parade, the carnival of the same orientation, etc.). It should be noted that despite all complexities and contradictions, a specialized tourism with the prefix "gay" is steadily increasing its volumes. 

Within the rights and freedoms in hospitality services, a tourist should not have any restrictions and discrimination by nationality, race, sex, religion, as well as sexual orientation. By all international standards, tourism is a special phenomenon which is common to all mankind. Thus, no one may be restricted in the feasibility of tourism. This important principle was enshrined by UN Conference on Tourism in 1954, where it was clearly stated that a tourist is any individual without distinction such as race, sex, language, or religion. Thus, following the international standards, nationality, race, gender, age, language, religion, as well as sexual orientation is absolutely not important for the tourist. The only thing which is important is that he regularly pay money for the use of tourist resources does not violate the local laws and customs and leaves the visited place within a specified time. Discrimination on grounds of race, sex, language, religion, or sexual orientation brings harm and financial losses to tourist destinations and hospitality business in certain place.

Practical Samples of Benefit from Providing Gay Tourists with Equal Rights

Nowadays, in some countries, legislation establishing equal rights and non-discrimination of sexual minorities is adopted. It brings additional income which is calculated by the competitive figures to the local hospitality business. There is a plenty of examples which are convincing evidence that providing equal rights for LGBT representatives can bring significant benefit to tourist destinations and local hospitality business in general. Among these examples, there is Spain which can be named one of the main European tourist destinations for gays and lesbians. The financial reviews and documents on hospitality business in Spain note that the annual Spain's income received from LGBT travelers is around 6.04 billion Euro. Also, according to experts, sexual minorities spend during traveling for 30 percent more money than tourists of traditional orientation. From the beginning of the current year, Spain earned almost 37 billion Euros on tourism.

Spain is one of the most loyal towards gay community countries in the world. The local population mostly treats the followers of homosexual love with understanding and friendliness, thus, no special tensions arise. The popularity of Spain among the representatives of sexual minorities may be due to the fact that in 2005 the state became one of the first European countries where same-sex marriage was legalized. In addition, in 2014, Spain was recognized as the friendliest country towards gays. Also, in Madrid, in July each year, the world's biggest gay pride parade is carried out. Second on the list of tourist destinations popular among sexual minorities, is France (income of 5.9 billion Euros), and the third is Germany (4.7 billion Euros). Without a doubt, the sample of Spain, France and Germany and the figures on hospitality business are evidence that LGBT minorities participating in local tourism bring great financial benefit to it. 

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Difficulties for Implementing the Equal Rights

Thus, organizing special tourist trips, events, programs for these groups, taking into account the interests of tourists are the way to improve tourist attraction of the place and increase the income. For this purpose special tourist guides for gays and lesbians are issued. However, the fact can not be excluded that there is a certain confrontation of the public opinion and social rejection of representatives of the sexual minorities in society. This complicated issue spread its influence on the hospitality business as well as on other fields of social activities. Straight tourist with the radically negative attitude towards gays and lesbians may be dissatisfied with the presence of gay couples in the same touristic place. If this mood would be intensified, the place can lose its attractiveness for such group of tourists. Therefore, for hospitality business owners and managers, in order to receive benefit from providing equal rights for LGBT tourists and engagement them in touristic activity, the certain level reasonable balance between different groups should be maintained. 

In this regard, the example of the theme park Disney World in Orlando is illustrative. Annually in summer, usually on June 6-8, the park holds a one-day holiday for the representatives of non-traditional sexual minorities, which involves more than 80 thousand tourists. The holiday lasts for almost a day, and during this time, the park is closed to children. The character and the very nature of entertainment, symbols, souvenirs and other attributes with very specific features, cause serious tensions in the US administration of the park with Christian and other religious communities. But, despite all the public protests, the hospitality business is first of all the business. The festival has been held from 1998 and now it has become traditional. This is a serious and highly professional work for travel companies. The task is to organize the arrival and accommodation of 80 thousand tourists from all US states and foreign tourists at the same time. After a night event, the park is put in order again; different attributes, films, and souvenirs are removed, and the world-famous theme park again successfully welcomes the children and their parents. Similar events are held in major European cities such as Amsterdam and Paris. Similar actions are organized in Australia with a huge scale and attract tourists from all over the world reaching the number of participants up to350 thousand people.

Organization of tours for sexual minorities has a definite character. Thus, providing equal rights for representatives of LGBT community, hospitality business managers, and owners should take into account the rules and principles of the morality of local people. Different countries have different attitudes to the freedom of sexual orientation and expression it. Several countries organize special services for gay tourists. Some countries treat them equally with straight visitors. However, some countries, especially those with the predominant Muslim population, which is characterized by extremely radical and conservative views, do not seem to be fertile ground for the creation of conditions for the peaceful coexistence of local population, straight tourists, and representatives LGBT community. Thus, when thinking on the issue of providing the equal rights to gay tourists, it is extremely important to take into account the possible consequences for the certain region. Without a doubt, an inflow of visitors of sexual minorities who are prone to spend much more money than straight ones will ensure financial benefit to the local hospitality business. However, at the same time, it can cause dissatisfaction of the local population and even social collisions with possibly tragic results. Thus, all pros and cons of providing equal rights to gay tourists should be examined within the context of national and cultural features of defined localization of hospitality business. This is also should be done in order to protect the very gay visitors. 

Interview Testimonies

The position that providing the gay tourists with equal rights will be beneficial for hospitality business is supported in Illinois. There they expect to raise tourism due to making the city attractive for sexual minorities. This idea was expressed during the interview with the representative of the Illinois Bureau of Tourism Jan Kostner. According to information provided by him during the short interview, the state governments have started to take the first steps to a specialized travel of sexual minorities. This campaign is designed to expand the tourism market of Illinois, as well as the involvement of specialized staff of the public. First, they would like to organize a study tour for journalists focused on bringing gays and lesbians to the market of their region. This initiative was a result and came a year after the government doubled the annual budget coming from hospitality business due to the promising tourist market which is gay tourists. The government has allocated to the budget of this group$ 350 thousand. It is supposed that due to these actions the coming homosexual tourists will spend about $ 30 billion on travel inside the country that is representing 19% of revenues last year. 

Mr. Costner said that they recognize that the need to develop new strategies for the development of the tourism industry, which will open new audience for it. The government finally decided to actively encourage those groups that are most traveling and more expensive than the general population. This group is representatives of the sexual minorities. Finally, the interviewee states that the representatives of LGB community are interested in the same things as ordinary travelers. This is not always the basement clubs and loud music since the representatives of sexual minorities like a cultural holiday - art, theater, music, gastronomy. They are willing to spend money when they are traveling and getting new impressions.


Finally, it should be recognized that the world is global, and it is only a matter of time when minorities will receive equal rights, which they are deprived to date. It is extremely important not to turn away from the realities of time but try to find the legal form that will ensure the public balance on this subject between the conservative part of society, the rest part, and the representatives of LGBT community. This principle should be established by law. The most important thing is to reduce the intensity of aggression against minorities. People who are struggling against them need to understand that their violent struggle causes opposition and the more fighters against gay rights, the more fighters for gay rights, and the sharper will be the forms of struggle the stronger protection from it will be.

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