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Gay-Friendly Hotels on the Rise.
By Luigi Serenelli
Monday, 14th April 2014
 
Exclusive Feature: With same-sex weddings recently being introduced to the UK and elsewhere and a growing acceptance of the LGBT community, an increasing number of hotels are beginning to cater to the LGBT community.

'Gay-friendly' holiday accommodation extends to not only to hotels, but also bed and breakfasts and rental apartments.

The blog Further Afield is indicative of how much this market is growing. When the site launched in 2012, it featured just 30 gay-friendly travel spots, all of which were in the UK. The list has now grown to include more than 250 places in ten countries including France, Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Ireland, Italy and Portugal.

Members of the LGBT community in the US alone spend around $65 billion per year on travel, according to a 2010-2011 report published by San Francisco-based communication and research firm Community Marketing & Inc. (CMI), which specializes in research and marketing in the LGBT market segment.

The US Department of Commerce calculated that the total amount generated by the travel industry in 2010 was $1.3 trillion in economic output.

Another CMI tourism report spotted a number of travel trends among the LGBT community. In 2013, there was a slight increase in leisure travel, but a decrease in business travel – as there has been for the past two years. Tourists are also choosing mid-range accommodation, according to CMI.

The report also highlighted that it is young people under 35 from the LGBT community who have most increased their spending on holidays at home and abroad.

The term gay-friendly doesn't mean that the accommodation is exclusively for the gay and lesbian community but is welcoming of everyone, say the authors of the Further Afield blog.

"When we use the term gay-friendly, we simply mean that each of our hand-picked properties, in addition to their quality, location and service, provide the same welcome to their gay guests as they do to all others. We also believe that 'inclusivity' works both ways and so none of our properties are exclusively gay."

The Idle Rocks hotel in Cornwall is one such hotel that promotes itself as a gay-friendly without being exclusively for the LGBT community.

"There is no differentiation between one gender and another," said Yvonne Scott, reservation manager of Idle Rocks, stressing that they offer the same opportunities to relax and enjoy to anyone who visits the hotel. “There are a lot of places that don’t encourage or welcome everyone in the same way and we are not like that.”

The hotel has just re-opened following renovations it had to carry out as a result of damage caused by storms that hit the region last spring. In May, Idle Rocks will host a gay civil partnership in the hotel grounds.

But LGBT couples and singles unfortunately still need to contend with the fact they may not receive a warm welcome in every country they visit and have a number of resources available to them to research this beforehand.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (IGLA) explains the legal and social restrictions regarding LGBT people in different countries and regions around the world, for example, in parts of Africa and the Middle East, where homosexuality is still illegal.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.

Luigi Serenelli is a reporter based in Berlin, Germany. He has previously worked for local and national publications on society and politics in Naples and Rome, Italy and now works with journalists across the globe as part of the international journalism organization, Associated Reporters Abroad (ARA). Luigi has spent a large part of the last 10 years abroad and whenever possible he boards a train for long distance journeys.
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