Jenny Southan, editor, founder and CEO of Globetrender

A new travel trend forecasting report has shone a spotlight on the changing landscape for LGBTQ+ tourism in the coming years.

Globetrender – the UK’s leading travel trend forecasting agency – has published The Future of Queer Travel, identifying eight new trends for the LGBTQ+ travel market.

Amongst these trends are Queer Family Travel, Polydays, Limelight Gaycations and Pride Power, reflecting the growing wants and needs of LGBTQ+ consumers as our experiences continue to evolve.

“Over the past ten years, the queer travel market has grown enormously – when travel was at its peak before the pandemic, travel spending from queer people reached US$218 billion worldwide,” said Jenny Southan, editor, founder and CEO of Globetrender. “By 2030, experts predict that travel spending by queer travellers could reach US$568.5 billion.”

“Why? Firstly, queer travellers are more intrepid and hungry for travel than ever before. Secondly, in many cases they also have more disposable income. And thirdly, the population of people who identify as queer is increasing. In 2021, a landmark UK Census revealed that 6.9% of Gen Zs identified as LGB+ compared with 3.5% of Millennials, and 1.6% of Boomers.

“For the travel industry, this is a clear indication of distinct market opportunities (particularly among people under the age of 45). It is also an urgent call for better understanding and appreciation of this growing and richly varied consumer group.”

She added: “In terms of progress for LGBTQ+ human rights, there are steps forward and steps backwards. Gay marriage is legal in 34 countries (up from just one in 2001) but homosexuality is still illegal in 67 countries. In 2023, the president of Uganda signed one of the world’s toughest anti-LGBTQ laws, but at the same time, Latvia welcomed the modern world’s first openly gay president. 

“At Globetrender, we are optimists. We strongly believe in travel as the ultimate expression of freedom, and a unifying force that brings people closer together.”

The number one trend in the report is Queer Family Travel, acknowledging that queer families have only been legal for roughly 20 years and Millennials are the first generation to embrace queer parenting in a socially accepting way, as well as having legal rights and protections.

However, queer families have to be mindful about where they visit as the rules and rights of queer parents in some destinations remain complex.

“A big reason we chose Queer Family Travel as our number-one trend is because more and more rainbow families are emerging – in 2019 there were almost quarter of a million same-sex families in the UK, an increase of 40% since 2015,” said Southan.

“It was also because of the publication of an important milestone book last month – The Queer Parent: Everything you Need to Know from Gay to Ze – which was co-authored by my wife Lotte Jeffs and Stu Oakley. My wife and I have a young daughter and Stu is a gay married man with three adopted children. 

“In this book they highlight some of the unique challenges we face when travelling as queer parents, such as how we are ‘outed’ all the time by cries of ‘Mummy, Mama’ or ‘Daddy, Papa’. What this means is that queer families need to be far more discerning and thoughtful about where they visit to ensure they won’t encounter homophobia.”

Limelight Gaycations is a trend which sees LGBTQ+ fans of popular TV shows taking inspiration of their setting for their next trip abroad. Most recently, “masseria” rentals in Italy experienced a surge in Google searches following the first series of BBC’s groundbreaking gay dating show I Kissed A Boy, which was shot on location in Italy.

The White Lotus has also encouraged visitors to plan trips to Four Seasons properties in Hawaii and Italy following those destinations featuring as the setting for seasons one and two respectively.

In their report, Globetrender looked at the growing number of polyamorous relationships. They’ve coined the term Polydays for this trend, which will see an increase in the number of throuples and other people in polyamorous relationships booking trips together in the coming years.

Pride Power has become a growing trend in recent decades too, which sees LGBTQ+ travellers plan their holiday around Pride events in major cities – from New York City to Sydney, and Malta to Miami.

You can read about all eight of the trend forecasts for LGBTQ+ travel in the full The Future of Queer Travel report, which is free to download from Globetrender.