THE BLOG

Denying LGBT People Equal Rights? Don't Expect Them to Visit on Vacation

27/04/2014 16:40 BST | Updated 27/06/2014 10:59 BST

LGBT people are voting with their wallets.

As more places pass laws that recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people as equal citizens under the law, the LGBT community is spending where they are welcomed - and one of America's favorite destinations - Great Britain - has seized the opportunity with a new 'Love is GREAT' campaign timed to coincide with the start of marriage equality laws in England and Wales.

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The world's largest global research initiative into the lives of LGBT people has just released new stats showing that most LGBT Americans now factor in the legal situation of their next vacation destination before booking their holiday.

This is leading to smarter politicians realising that betting against equality is not a good choice. Recently the Republican Party in Nevada took opposition to gay marriage off their official party agenda. That is smart politics - and smart business. With Las Vegas eyeing off the lesbian and gay tourism market already, having marriage equality will help cement that destination's appeal to a larger number of potential tourists.

And it is not just those that want to marry that will preference the growing number of places whose LGBT citizens are starting to enjoy something approaching equal legal rights at home.

Not equal there? We'll go elsewhere thanks.

The LGBT2020 study analyzes LGBT people living in more than 20 countries globally and the results can be fascinating.

When asked to what extent can the legal situation for local LGBT people affect where respondents decide to go to spend their vacation, 38% - that is almost four in every 10 US respondents - say that local laws affect their destination travel plans "to a great extent".

Another three in 10 - 29% - said local rights for LGBT people has a "moderate" impact on their plans. Only 11% say that the local situation plays no part in their planned destination.

In market terms, this means that equality for all has the ability to provide a destination with a distinct competitive edge with over 10million US consumers. LGBT tourism in 2014 is a highly competitive business and that scale of market advantage is one that destinations crave.

Equality is now part of a global pink dollar activism movement that enjoys spending to reward locations - and companies - that treat lesbian and gay people with equal respect.

Love is GREAT

All of this helps place the latest LGBT tourism campaign by VisitBritain in the proper context. The new 'Love is GREAT' campaign builds on existing campaign branding against the background of the new marriage equality laws that have just come into force in England and Wales, with Scotland to follow later this year.

Centered on the ongoing successful 'GREAT' branding strategy for tourism advertising by VisitBritain, the new campaign focuses on what for many people is the most important aspect of equality now taking shape in LGBT markets all around the world.

As more and more countries introduce equal laws to cover LGBT people, the brand adaptation 'Love is GREAT' chimes perfectly with current aspirations of gay and lesbian people globally - and intelligently positions VisitBritain's product to meet the needs of the US gay tourism market.

Campaign partners include Virgin Atlantic, specialist tour operator Further Afield, tourism marketing agencies for Manchester, Birmingham, Wales and Brighton as well as several Radisson Blu Edwardian hotels in England. The 'Love is GREAT' branding is part of the continuing 'GREAT' campaign by VisitBritain.

Our consultancy Out Now is the creative agency delivering this new US campaign for VisitBritain which runs until April 30.

The timing of the new Britain campaign makes a lot of sense given the introduction of new marriage equality laws in England and Wales.

Giving LGBT people equal rights is simply the right thing to do. But if business needs a reason to lobby for the introduction of equal laws then this new LGBT2020 research should help turn the tourism industry into equality lobbyists. They will not only be helping their lesbian and gay family and friends - they will likely also be helping to increase tourism revenues for their destinations.