BRIDGETOWN, WILLEMSTAD – Some Caribbean destinations are being encouraged to go after the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) market while others are being advised to first determine if it is among their top three priority niches before allocating funds for outreach programs to this community.
David Paisley, the senior research director at Community Marketing and Insights, a San Francisco, California- based market research firm that specializes in outreach to the LGBT community and which works with tourism bureaus to reach out to that community, has said that while gay and lesbian travel is lucrative, not all destinations are attracted to it.
“For some destinations the gay and lesbian market makes a lot of sense, for others it does not. I look at the Caribbean on a whole, I think some destinations probably should be going after the LGBT market, other destinations probably need a sitter. Is this a sort of market that falls into your top three niches or not? That doesn’t mean you are an LGBT unfriendly place. It means your budget is limited and you need to go after other niches,” said Paisley, who said that over 100 tourism bureaus have outreach programs to gay and lesbian travelers.
Paisley will present on the subject at the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s State of the Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Curacao next month. He will be part of a panel entitled, Business Opportunities: Teach Me to Niche, which will also explore entertainment tourism and the millennial market.
“Gay and lesbian travel can be a real economic boom for some places and some destinations recognize that and are going after that market,” added Paisley.
He explained that this niche travels and spends more than their mainstream counterparts, particularly on hotels, restaurants and shopping. His presentation will focus on the numbers, as well as strategies that have worked for destinations that reach out to this market.
“What I want to emphasize is some of the statistics around the LGBT community and why it is a lucrative market, and try to get people to better understand why is it there are over 100 tourism bureaus that are actively outreaching to the LGBT community today. I want to break some of the myths. Gays and lesbians are like everyone else out there, we are traveling to a place because we want to have comfort, we want to have fun, we want to have a good time, we want to get out of work and our regular lives. And the basic motivations for why we travel are exactly the same as everyone else. And I want to talk about some of the outreach strategies that have been successful for other destinations.”
The CTO State of the Industry Conference, the pre-eminent tourism gathering in the region, takes place from October 21-23. It brings together tourism decision-makers, including ministers, commissioners and directors of tourism, hotel and airline executives, travel agents, students, the media and persons directly and indirectly involved in tourism. It is preceded by CTO business meetings, including meetings of the board of directors and the Council of Ministers and Commissioners of Tourism.
This year’s conference, which has as its theme, Caribbean Tourism: Growth Through Innovation, is organized in collaboration with Curacao’s Ministry of Economic Development and the Curacao Tourism Board, with support from the United Nations tourism agency, the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). It will be held at the World Trade Center in Willemstad.
For more information on SOTIC, including how you can register, participate and benefit, click here.