In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of companies providing something known as ‘pink tourism’. If you are part of the LGBT community, then this is something that you may have heard about a lot. So, what is pink tourism?
Pink tourism is tourism specifically aimed at the LGBTQ+ community. So, vacations to top gay resorts, planning gay weddings, etc. The idea of pink tourism is to make gay people feel safer in certain destinations, while also allowing them to be much more comfortable with who they are.
On this page, we want to take an in-depth look at pink tourism. We want to take a look at what it is, the rise of pink tourism, and where we see pink tourism heading in the future. We’ll even let you know whether pink tourism is right for you.
What is Pink Tourism?
Pink tourism is an incredibly broad term. Essentially, it means all tourism that is specifically aimed at the LGTBQ+ community. So, if the vacation heavily advertises that it is gay-friendly, etc. then it is probably pink tourism.
Pink tourism almost always focuses on destinations where LGBTQ+ members are readily accepted. For example, pink tourism will often have you heading to top gay resorts, partying with fellow gay people, etc. However, this isn’t always necessarily the case.
In recent years, a lot of pink tourism has focused on helping gay people stay safe in countries where there is a strong anti-queer agenda. For example, in the Maldives, there is a strong anti-gay vibe. Normally, gay people are advised to steer clear. However, some pink tourism companies have connections in these countries that can make people feel a little bit safer.
Many of these pink tourism vacations will often focus on bringing gay people together to socialize. We suppose the main reason is so that people can vacation in a much more supportive community, and maybe even make friends along the way. Anybody who has traveled as a gay person will know that it can be exceedingly tough to know who to socialize with when you have done little to no research.
Pink tourism isn’t just about the planned vacations either. Sometimes, it is just guidebooks that explicitly mention gay-friendly attractions, hotels, resorts, restaurants, bars, etc. This is also big business in the gay community, and you’ll find that many LGBTQ+ people will have countless guidebooks that they thumb through when they are planning a vacation.
Basically, pink tourism is just about planning holidays specifically targeted at gay people. It could be any type of vacation. It could be a gay resort, a cruise, a safari, or something. As long as it is aimed at gay people (and it doesn’t only have to accept gay people), then it is probably going to fall under the pink tourism banner.
The Rise of Pink Tourism
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when pink tourism really started to gain traction. Most believe that it happened in the 1990s to early 2000s. Certainly, prior to the 1990s, you would have almost certainly struggled to find a major company that would focus on pink tourism. Although, nowadays many of the major vacation operators are doing it. Most are chasing the so-called ‘pink money’.
Pink tourism started to gain traction when gay rights issues started to become much more prominent in the media, which was at the tail-end of the 1990s. As you can probably imagine, the major push over the last few years has made pink tourism even more popular.
Perhaps the reason why it is so difficult to pinpoint exactly when pink tourism started is down to the fact that it was a slow rollout around the world. Obviously, every country had its own timeline for gay rights, so you would have seen pink tourism roll out in Western Europe far faster than it did in the United States. It was only in 2009 that pink tourism really started to take off in India, for example.
So, why did pink tourism become so popular around that time? Well, it wasn’t just because of the push toward more gay rights. It is because as gay people became much more prominent in the media (and more and more people became accepting of the lifestyle), vacation companies started to see something known as ‘pink money’ which, essentially, is just money spent by gay people.
Gay people are very supportive of companies, politicians, etc. that support gay causes. In fact, around 90% of gay people will only spend their money at places known for supporting gay rights, and they will effectively avoid any businesses that are known to have an anti-gay agenda. As you can probably imagine, businesses absolutely love this money. In the US alone, it means that businesses can have a slice of almost $ 790 billion per year spent by the gay community.
We suppose that money wasn’t the only thing here either. Many major pink tourism companies are owned and operated by gay people, and they know just how difficult it can be for gay people to feel comfortable overseas. So, they come up with great vacations where fellow gay people can enjoy traveling in a safe environment.
It isn’t just the vacation planners that offer pink tourism either. Many companies, for example, Disney, will have specific days each year where gay people are actively encouraged to enter the Disney theme parks. You’ll also find that more cities than ever are introducing Pride Parades in a bid to encourage gay tourists to visit their towns.
Honestly, pink tourism is absolutely massive money, and we are likely only at the start of the rise of pink tourism. Over the next section, we want to take a quick look at how we believe the future of pink tourism is looking, and why we believe that it will only start to get more popular as time goes on.
The Future of Pink Tourism
As we said, we believe that pink tourism is only going to get more popular over the years, and there are a few reasons why.
Firstly, members of the LGBTQ+ community spend billions and billions of dollars per year. In fact, around 10% of all money spent on tourism is spent by LGBTQ+ members. Many of these people are only spending cash at known gay-friendly places. There are very, very few businesses (at least major ones) that will want to turn this money down. As pink tourism gets more popular, expect to see many companies involved in the tourism industry spend a lot of cash marketing specifically toward gay people.
Pink tourism is also fairly new. As we said, it is something that only really managed to get going in the late 1990s and early 2000s and, even back then, it was still a minimal part of a company’s business. Over the last 5 years or so, we have seen an even bigger push toward gay rights, and you’ll find that many more companies are paying attention to this and noticing that people are demanding certain things from the companies that they are purchasing from.
Finally, it is only recently that some countries have started to shake up their gay rights laws. Back in the early 2000s, it would have been incredibly tough to imagine that a place like India would become a top pink tourism destination. In 2009, it was one of the most visited pink tourism destinations in the world. So, as time goes on, and more countries become accepting of gay rights, we’ll probably start to notice that more and more locations offer opportunities for pink tourism.
So, all in all, we think we are at the start of the pink tourism trend. It is something that is only going to get bigger as time goes on. Not just the companies that are offering travel options around the world, but we’ll start to see major attractions (as we have seen with Disney World) focus on gay rights and pulling in gay visitors. We’ll also see major towns and cities spend a lot of cash on bringing in gay tourists too. In fact, if some countries start to see how much pink money is around, we wouldn’t be surprised if we started to see some national ad campaigns too.
Basically, pink tourism is here to stay. If you already enjoy the sheer number of pink tourism options on the market right now, then you’re going to love the future. In fact, the vacations are probably only going to get better as more and more options start to become available.
Is Pink Tourism Worth It?
This is a tricky question to answer because, of course, pink tourism is 100% worth it. People should have vacations that are targeted specifically at them. It is something that we do not want to see disappear ever, and we only want the industry to expand. The more important question is whether pink tourism is right for you as a gay person. After all, this type of trip may not be for everybody.
In this section, we want to talk a little bit about why pink tourism may or may not be right for you.
You Want to Feel Safe in a Supportive Community
One of the major things about pink tourism is that it focuses on ensuring that everybody who heads on a vacation or to a specific attraction is in the most supportive environment possible. Most pink tourism companies will steer clear of places that have a far, far less accepting culture.
Obviously, everybody wants to feel as if they are in a safe and supportive community. In the past, many LGBTQ+ people were afraid of being ‘out’ overseas because of the danger in some locations. Through pink tourism companies, the risk is reduced almost to zero. This is because pink tourism companies spend a lot of time ensuring that any trips are safe.
You Want To Make Friends
Sometimes, you just want to make friends with like-minded people. Because pink tourism destinations will often be packed to the brim with members of the LGTBQ+ community, you’ll often find that it is far, far easier to find people that you can talk to.
Remember, when you are at a pink tourism destination, you are going to be in a highly accepting situation. It means that you are free to be yourself and don’t need to hide who you are.
You probably won’t be surprised to know this, but many single people head to pink tourism locations because they are looking for a romantic partner. Guess what? Many people find them, and they’ll find that it is a whole lot easier than seeking somebody out in a different way.
You Care Where Your Money Is Being Spent
Pink tourism companies are highly supportive of gay rights. Any company that offers pink tourism will vet every single destination they recommend to ensure that they are supportive of gay rights too.
As we mentioned earlier, a lot of people in the LGTBQ+ community care a whole lot about where their money is being spent. They only want to spend their cash in places supportive of them. So, if you fall into that category, then you should almost certainly look into pink tourism companies.
You Want Less Choice About What Happens (Sometimes)
The only major downside of focusing purely on pink tourism is the fact that you have far fewer choices about where you can head. Obviously, not everywhere is gay-friendly. Not that you would want to travel there (in some cases), but many pink tourism companies focus very, very hard on only certain destinations.
If you love the whole aspect of planning a vacation, then working with a pink tourism company may not be for you. Instead, you may want to plan your vacation yourself, and perhaps pay special attention to the more gay-friendly locations.
Pink tourism is now big business. This type of tourism focuses specifically on vacation destinations that are very supportive of gay rights (or are all about the LGBTQ+ community). If you fall into that category, then you may want to look into pink tourism in more depth.