It should come as no surprise to gay and lesbian travelers that the number-one destination in Europe for the market is Spain. This year, the country rose the to the top position ahead of France, according to LGBT Capital, an investment firm based in the British Virgin Islands that focuses on gay-themed assets.
The European country, the third European nation to legalize gay marriage, welcomed the much-needed revenue from LGBT travelers. This year alone, gay visitors contributed $6.8 billion to the economy (LGBT travelers spend 30% more on average than mainstream tourists in Spain).
These record numbers aren’t some fluke. Spain has been courting LGBT travelers for over a decade. With year-round events including Pride in Barcelona that welcomes 71,000 visitors, the event is said to generate some $6.6 billion in revenue and all-inclusive ad campaigns from both the national tourist board and prominent airlines like Iberia.
The most astonishing change that has been seen in Spain is that even conservatives are welcoming the LGBT community. According to Bloomberg: “Regional President Cristina Cifuentes flew the rainbow flag, symbolizing support for gay people, from institutional buildings for the first time following her election victory in May. In 2005, her colleagues from Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party led 100,000 protesters in a march against legalizing gay marriage.”