SCOTLAND needs to do more to market itself to gay tourists worldwide, a new report by Equality Network, Scotland’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, equality and human rights charity says.
The report ‘Wish You Were Here - The Scottish LGBT Travel Report’ - the first of its kind in Scotland - looks at the views and needs of LGBT travellers to Scotland.
The study, conducted with VisitScotland, shows that despite 77 per cent of LGBT people considering Scotland a gay-friendly place only 3 per cent said Scotland would come to mind first when booking a holiday.
Some worry about their safety and have concerns about travelling to rural and remote locations and regard cities as more gay friendly.
Also, while advances have been made to protect LGBT people from discrimination, a number of respondents had fears about being turned away from accommodation. The report says this demonstrates the “clear need for a visible welcome for LGBT travellers to Scotland.”
Researchers found 30 per cent of travellers from outwith Scotland said they did not know whether Scotland was LGBT friendly.
A total of 73 per cent of respondents said an LGBT friendly reputation was an important factor in their choice of destination. Furthermore, 81 per cent said the local legal situation for LGBT was an important factor in their choice of destination.
The report aims to highlight the opportunities of marketing Scotland to the world as a LGBT friendly travel destination.
Scotland’s tourism is worth an estimated £4.3bn annually, while the global LGBT tourism market is worth around £110bn each year.
Scott Cuthbertson, from the Equality Network, said: “Scotland has all the ingredients of a world class LGBT friendly travel destination, a favourable legal landscape, great places to visit and the friendliest people in the world, its time to make more of that and send out a warm welcome to LGBT travellers.
“The tourism industry is worth millions to the Scottish economy every year, other destinations are already actively targeting the LGBT market, there is every reason for Scotland to do the same, creating jobs and supporting equality at the same time. It’s a win win scenario for Scotland.”
The charity has made a number of recommendations, including that Scotland should do more to explicitly market itself to LGBT travellers and that more should be done to take advantage of new same-sex marriage laws promoting Scotland as a destination for marriages.
The charity has also announced it is working on a LGBT travel guide to be launched next year.
Visit Scotland has used the research to launch a special LGBT portal on visitscotland.com - http://www.visitscotland.com/see-do/lgbt/
Adam Groffman, who runs travelsofadam.com, a Berlin-based gay travel blogger said: “Scotland is a diverse and friendly country, with a lot to offer for every type of tourist.
“When visiting Scotland over the past few years, I’ve found the country and the people very welcoming and comfortable. I just love the culture which keeps me coming back - there’s always something more to see and do. As a gay traveller, the country has such a diverse offering: nightlife, the amazing Edinburgh festivals, beautiful countryside, museums and castles. Scotland has so much to offer LGBT tourists”