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Britain Most Popular European Destination for American LGBTQ Travelers

New research shows that Britain is the most popular European destination for American LGBTQ travelers, beating all other countries surveyed to the top rank, followed by France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Ireland.

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View from Victoria Tower of the Houses of Parliament, the River Thames, Westminster and Westminster Bridge, with the London Eye in the distance, London, England. Photo credit: VisitBritain/Andrew Pickett

The ‘LGBTQ Leisure Travel to Britain’ research, carried out by Community Marketing & Insights, found that Britain’s historical and cultural attractions were found to be the top travel motivators overall for LGBTQ visitors with 76% sightseeing at famous buildings and monuments and 71% visiting museums and art galleries on their trip. The survey also found that American LGBTQ visitors enjoyed the vibrancy of Britain’s cities with London, Edinburgh, Bath, Glasgow and Manchester the top five cities for overnight visits.

“It is no wonder Britain is such a popular destination for the LGBTQ community with our vibrant cities, unparalleled cultural offering, stunning countryside and world-class attractions,” said VisitBritain Senior Vice President for the Americas Paul Gauger.

Gay couple standing by the River Thames on Westminster Bridge, with the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben in the background, London. Photo credit: ©VisitBritain/ Richard Allen

“We also know that global competition for visitors is fierce and people have a lot of choice. We must continue to highlight the equality and openness of Britain while addressing barriers to travel, promoting our message of welcome and value and highlighting experiences that research shows appeal to LGBTQ visitors from America,” Gauger added. “Crucially these insights can help us link the motivations and inspirations for LGBTQ travel with the amazing destinations, activities and attractions that can only be experienced in Britain.”

Britain’s countryside and outdoor activities appealed strongly to women and two thirds were interested in exploring small towns or the countryside in Britain.

Shaftesbury Avenue, London’s West End. Night. Dusk. A row of theatres, with large marquee signs outside advertising the shows playing. Theatreland. Light trails of road traffic. Photo credit: ©VisitBritain/ Tristan Vince

Going to the theatre was also cited as an influencer particularly for male visitors and LGBTQ-themed theatre was considered an important motivator for repeat visits to Britain.

Younger LGBTQ visitors were also attracted to quirky attractions and experiences in Britain, such as unusual tours, themed activities and discovering hidden gems.

The research found that while summer is the most popular time of year for the LGTBQ community to travel to Britain for a vacation, spring and autumn also featured highly, demonstrating the potential to drive more seasonal tourism growth.

Gay and lesbian couples smiling and embracing on the sand at Brighton beach. Brighton Wheel is in the background. Photo credit: ©VisitBritain/Richard Allen

However, Britain was seen as an expensive destination with the LGBTQ visitors surveyed, citing this as the top reason that might prevent them taking a vacation.

“Britain’s accommodation, dining and visitor attractions are continuing to offer great deals for visitors, and with a favourable exchange rate we are promoting a message of value across our activity in the US to drive bookings,” Gauger explained. “Also, with more direct airline routes and more daily flights from the US on offer, along with a calendar of exciting events throughout the year, it’s really a great time to book a trip now.”

Group of gay couples standing outside G-A-Y Bar in Manchester. Smiling and holding drinks outside night club. Manchester nightlife. Photo credit: ©VisitBritain/Ben Selway

VisitBritain is boosting awareness of Britain internationally as a LGTBQ friendly and welcoming destination, promoting equality and diversity through its Love is GREAT Britain campaign, now in its fifth year. The recent UK presence at WorldPride 2019 in New York City was among the 29 LGBTQ+ events and activities that are taking place in 15 cities across the Americas.

Forward flight bookings from the US to the UK are currently tracking ahead 4% for arrivals from June to August this year compared to the same period in 2018.

The US is Britain’s top inbound market for both visits and spend. VisitBritain is expecting 3.9 million visits overall from the US this year with visitors forecast to spend £3.5 billion.

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december 2019

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