Spain is now Europe’s top LGBT tourist destination, with gay and lesbian visitors contributing $6.8 BILLION to the country’s economy.
LGBT Capital – an investment firm that focuses on “gay-themed assets” – says that Spain has now claimed the crown from France, which receives a slightly more modest $6.6 billion from LGBT tourists.
Gay people apparently spend around 30% more on average than straight tourists, according to government estimates.
It’s perhaps not too surprising that so many are visiting Spain, as it was one of the first countries in the European Union to legalise same-sex marriage way back in 2005.
Barcelona hosts Europe’s largest gay festival every August – The Circuit Festival – which attracted 71,000 people alone this year. Organisers say that the two week event brought 150 million euros into the local economy. It’s so successful, organisers are now looking to expand to Ibiza and the Canaries.
Carlos Kyta, executive director at the Gay European Tourism Association, which works with hotels in Europe, explained: “This is a high-income travel market that is not tied down by school holidays and is generally more adventurous.”
Even the country’s right wing politicians are getting in on the action.
President of Madrid, Cristina Cifuentes, symbolised her support for gay people during this year’s Pride celebrations by flying the Rainbow Flag from the city’s parliamentary buildings for the very first time.
It’s staggering when you consider her colleagues from the People’s Party – led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy – led 100,000 protesters in a march against same-sex marriage back in 2005.
But it’s less surprising when you know that Madrid’s Pride events generated around 120 million euros this year