Britain set for gay travel boom

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The Independent Online
Brighton and London are likely to become international gay "hot spots" attracting thousands of high-spending American homosexuals, according to two geographers who addressed the conference yesterday.

British-born Professor Briavel Holcomb and a researcher, Michael Luongo, both of Rutgers University in New Jersey, surveyed the United States' fast-growing gay tourism industry with its hundreds of specialised travel agencies.

They found some Club Med resorts in the Western hemisphere have gay weeks; even Disney World, in Florida, has gay days when homosexuals are especially welcome - to the distress of some heterosexuals who arrive there unknowingly with their children, they


The geographers explained how the Gay Games in New York last year had boosted the city's economy by bringing hundreds of thousands of extra lesbians and gays to town. (The next games will take place in Amsterdam in 1998 - Birmingham was in the running, but the gay-friendly Dutch city won the event.)

Male homosexuals - be they single or in couples - are a travel agent's dream, the geographers said. Being childless and male, they have higher earnings, more money to spend on themselves, and more freedom to travel.

Professor Holcomb said Americans favoured countries where English was spoken, and so Britain was well-placed to cash in on the boom in gay travel.

London and Brighton, the nation's leading gay centres, already had international reputations and were most likely to benefit, he said.