The late American lesbian feminist and author Susan Sontag once said of travel: “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”
A new Canadian study has found that many Canadian queers also have everywhere on their travel to-do lists, with research showing gays and lesbians spend almost twice as much as straight people annually on travel.
This is obvious to anyone who’s ever tried to lift the Spartacus International Gay Guide. I’ve been using it to up my bench press.
Protean Strategies conducted the second such study of queer Canadians for Travel Gay Canada (TGC) and found that gays spend $7 billion annually and spent an average of $1,131 per trip last year, compared to $597 for straight people.
The study also found that gay Canadians travel more frequently and plan to continue travelling as often. TGC’s Darrell Schuurman said, “Gay travellers… spend more per trip and are more likely to travel in the off-season than the mainstream market.”
The top destinations for Canadian queers will be no surprise: in Canada, gays hit Toronto first, then Montreal and Vancouver. Strangely, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, did not make the list.
Schuurman told Xtra the top American destinations are New York City, Las Vegas and San Francisco. Internationally, queers also love the standards: London, Paris and Barcelona.
However, a 2010 Out Now global study found that Latin America is the largest up-and-coming gay destination. The region is home to more than 25 million queers, according to Global Travel Industry News.
The 2010 TripOut Gay Travel Awards voted Rio de Janeiro the sexiest travel spot on earth (it’s where I met my husband, so I’ll have to agree), and Puerto Vallarta is now the number-one travel destination for queer Canadians.
Madrid Pride scooped TripOut’s award for best annual gay destination party or event, and Toronto took the prize for best breakout destination, beating Reykjavik, Tel Aviv, Dallas and Siem Reap.
Move over, Mykonos and Barcie, because this last entry, a tiny Cambodian city of fewer than 200,000, is reportedly the hottest new global gay spot.