Gay & Lesbian Tourism Demographic Profile

Key findings from CMI's “11th Annual LGBT Travel Survey,” have been compiled into a summary profile of over 7,500 self-identified gay and lesbian consumers who belong to gay mailing lists, subscribe to gay publications, visit gay websites, etc., making it the largest LGBT tourism survey in history. It offers valuable insights about consumers who may be reached through dedicated marketing initiatives.

In the year 2006 alone, CMI collected and analyzed over 27,000 gay and lesbian survey responses, and we have produced and published custom online survey, exit survey, focus group, field research and customer satisfaction reports for a wide variety of clients including CVBs, DMOs and tourism offices, tour operators, hospitality groups, developers, etc.

The American gay and lesbian community represents a US $55 billion travel industry (assuming that gays and lesbians make up a conservative 5% of the travel industry figure presented by the US Dept. of Commerce). But considering the results of CMI surveys, gay and lesbian travel and tourism represents a much larger percentage of the overall travel market based on frequency and spending.

Through our cross-tabs of 7,500 surveys, we identified many “gay markets.” Travel preferences are distinct among sub-segments such as age, gender, ethnicity, income, etc. Some comparisons of these segments are found in our report.

Travel professionals, journalists and students: Call Community Marketing at 415-437-3800 or email to request a complimentary copy of the full report.

Survey data collected from US respondents and analyzed by CMI's Gay Market Research + Development Labsm indicate the following:

Gay & lesbian destination ranking based on visits in the past year...

Top 7 US Leisure Destinations Top 7 US Business Top 7 International Top 7 Canadian Cities Top 7 European Cities
New York City New York City Canada Vancouver London
Las Vegas Los Angeles Mexico Montréal Paris
San Francisco Washington DC United Kingdom Toronto Rome
Los Angeles - West Hollywood Chicago France Victoria Amsterdam
Palm Springs San Francisco Italy Québec City Barcelona
Fort Lauderdale Phoenix Germany Whistler Florence
Chicago San Diego / Dallas (tie) Netherlands Calgary / Halifax (tie) Venice / Berlin (tie)

Gay & lesbian travel trends...

  • Gay and lesbian travelers took a median of five overnight trips in the last twelve months, comprised of
    two leisure, two personal and one business trip. 23% of respondents took more than five leisure trips,
    23% took more than five personal trips, and 19% took more than five business trips.
  • Respondents who traveled last year spent an average of 29 nights away from home (average six
    nights per trip).
  • 76% of respondents said that they were more likely to choose to travel to destinations that are known
    for being gay-friendly.
  • Leisure travel should see a gain in spending over the next year, as 40% indicate they will increase spending on leisure travel, versus only 11% that expect to reduce spending.
  • 84% took at least one flight in the last year, and the median respondent took six flights.
  • 92% of lesbians and gay men purchased an airline ticket on the Internet last year.
    Respondents spent a median of 15 nights in a hotel during the last year.
  • 44% said that having internet service available was important to their choice of a hotel.
    It was their #1 motivator.
  • 67% rented a car at least once in the last year.
  • 18% took a cruise in the last year.

Additional data, plus analysis, trends and interpretation may be found in the full report.

Gay & lesbian traveler demographics...

  • Median household income of US respondents is $79,000.
  • 35% of US respondents live in households earning over $100,000.
  • Median age of US respondents is 45 years.
  • 71% of US respondents hold a valid passport. 47% used it in the past year.
  • The median respondent spent approximately $6,300 (8% of household income) on travel last year,
    about $1,250 per trip.
  • 66% are college graduates, and 31% hold a Master's or Doctorate degree.
  • 67% are employed full time and 13% are self-employed.
  • 73% of those who took the survey are gay men, 21% are lesbian, and 5% are bisexual.
  • 83% are white and the remaining 16% are distributed widely among other ethnicities.
  • 54% are in relationships with the median duration being eight years. 26% of those in relationships have some form of official state sanction (e.g., marriage, domestic partnership or civil union) bestowed on the relationship. Of those whose relationships do not have any official recognition, a majority (57%) plan to pursue one.
  • Of the US respondents, 17% of lesbians and 4% of gay men between 30 and 60 have one or more
    children under 18 years old living with them.

Permission to use this data is granted on the condition that all gay research references credit
“Community Marketing, Inc., San Francisco, CA”

Contact Community Marketing, Inc. for more information:
Email or call us at 415/437-3800

Download CMI's Gay & Lesbian Tourism Demographic Profile


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