According to Friday's Wall Street Journal, the "key statistic" that finally caused Las Vegas to pursue gay tourists was that gay men spend 30% more than straight men when traveling. Also, lesbians and gay men comprise $55 billion of the annual travel market. Many hotels offer lavish commitment ceremony packages, have created all-gay ads for selected media, and have given their staff additional training to ensure a pleasant check-in, frequently cited as the most stressful moment for same-sex couples traveling together.
"Vegas has come to realize and respect the power of the gay and lesbian
dollar," says John D'Alessandro, the former executive director of the
International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. "They want folks who
can afford the expensive shows and restaurants. I think they looked at
these demographics and realized 'It's a dream market and we have to
fight for it.' "
Meanwhile, yesterday was opening day in Buenos Aires for The Axel, Latin America's first five-star gay hotel. It is the sister establishment to Barcelona's five-star Axel Hotel, which opened in 2003.
"Like any other business, we have economic objectives," general
manager Nacho Rodriguez said. But "we're also about fighting to help
the normalization and acceptance of gays in society."
He said the hotel was designed to be open and airy.
"Many gay hotels and places are closed off and can't be seen from
the street," Rodriguez said. "We wanted our hotel to be open and
visible. Why should we try and hide ourselves?"
The company reports that about 30% of their guests in Barcelona are heterosexual and they expect the same ratio in Argentina. They may mean heteroflexible.