With the end of this year’s pride month approaching, SheTravel is taking a look at LGBTQ+ travel trends and statistics. This article intends to shine a light on the data and how it might affect your travel in the future.
LGBTQ+ travel is increasing its market share within the industry. As of 2023, LGBTQ+ travel is worth $218 billion USD (£174 billion) worldwide and experts now expect the sector to expand to $568.5 billion USD (£487 billion) by 2030. Travel agencies are increasingly arranging LGBTQ+ targeted packages, these typically take the form of city breaks in LGBTQ+ friendly countries and same-sex wedding destinations. Data on LGBTQ+ travel tends to be limited to where LGBTQ+ community can travel safely an openly.
The primary difficulty LGBTQ+ travelers face is selecting safe destinations, with 80% of LGBTQ+ people reporting that their safety is the first consideration when deciding where to travel. 64 countries still criminalise homosexuality with 11 of these deeming it to be a capital offense. Most of these countries are located in the MENA region and Sub-Saharan Africa. Even in countries where homosexuality is legal, LGBTQ+ people can face considerable social stigma. In practice, this restricts freedom of travel for LGBTQ+ people, especially when traveling with a partner. It is an unfortunate statistic that 54% of LGBTQ+ Americans have hidden a personal relationship to avoid discrimination.
Worryingly, LGBTQ+ rights have been backsliding in many parts of Africa. Uganda recently announced laws that have made same-sex relations punishable by death. While same-sex relations have never been decriminalized this is a worrying trend that shows a shift in the wrong direction that sets a dangerous precedent for other countries in the region to follow. Following changes to Ugandan Law, Kenya has moved to uphold its anti-LGBTQ+ laws as anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment spread into the country once more. SheTravel therefore, strongly advises research before traveling and for all LGBTQ+ people to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves.