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News Article

LGBT+ Community Will Be Key to Tourism’s Recovery

By Alessa Flores | Tue, 06/09/2020 - 11:14

Tourism has been one of the most affected sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, the Latin American Congress of Blockchain and 4.0 Technologies, Atelier Inspira, Woman Lab, Smart City Global Summit and Big Data Company Summit organized a virtual congress to understand how COVID-19 has changed the tourism paradigm and what are the new opportunities that different actors in the sector can take advantage of.

Mariano Osores, President of the National Association of LGBT Commerce and Tourism in Mexico, considers that the LGBT+ population will be the first to start traveling, which is why they will become the economic engine of tourism. Osores highlighted that 5 percent of Mexico's income in terms of tourism is produced by LGBT tourism. As an example, he highlighted that the last week of June (known as Gay Pride month) generated an economic spill for Mexico City alone of more than MX$80 million (US$3.7 million) in 2019.

Osores emphasized the importance of generating spaces that implement high sanitation protocols but also provide training for personnel in gender matters. In this way, Mexico will be able to attract tourism for the national and international LGBT+ community to reactivate this economic sector.

Another reason why Mexico is visited by the international LGBT+ community is because of medical tourism. According to Osores, Mexico is one of the main countries for gender-reassignment surgeries. According to an analysis carried out by Deloitte, in 2018, the size of the medical tourism industry in Mexico reached US$14.1 billion (9 percent of the total worldwide), with a direct contribution to the tourism sector of US$3.5 billion. Despite there are no exact figures on how much economic spill is generated by sex-generic reassignments in Mexico, other countries such as Thailand (the No. 1 destination for these procedures worldwide) reported having more than 2 million visitors a year, with a spill of approximately US$4 billion, according to a note by El Financiero. Belonging to the first surgeon to perform Thailand's first gender surgery in 1975, the Preecha Aesthetic Institute in Bangkok attributes the country's popularity to three things: its affordability, good results and hospitality that allows visitors to have a nice tourist experience.

In 2012, the Ministry of Tourism carried out the first study to find out which travelers were the ones who acquired the most tourist services and what their impact was on the economy. It was found that LGBT+ tourism was among those segments showing growth. In addition, the report revealed that Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and the Riviera Maya are tourist destinations for LGBT+ luxury travelers, while Guadalajara and Mexico City have established themselves as urban destinations for the LGBT+ community. The Ministry of Tourism estimates that an international LGBT+ tourist in Mexico spends US$1,700 per person during their stay, while heterosexual tourism reaches US$780 on average, according to a Forbes México article.

Globally, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that LGBT+ tourists generate an economic spill of more than US$140 billion a year. Likewise, UNWTO revealed that LGBT+ people travel an average of 3.9 times in a 12-month period and base their decisions on their travel wishes and not on financial restrictions, since the vast majority are double-income couples without children.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Ministry of Tourism, UNWTO, El Financiero, Forbes México, National Association of LGBT Commerce and Tourism
Photo by:   thedevilofLA
Alessa Flores Alessa Flores Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst