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Morals over The Pink Pound, is holiday choice restricted by sexuality?

Morals over The Pink Pound, is holiday choice restricted by sexuality?
Author: Simon Brooks
4 Commentries

Despite the power of 'The Pink Pound', particularly within the tourism, certain destinations still perceive homosexuality as being immoral. This report focus's on whether a destinations decision to pick 'morals' over 'The Pink Pound' ultimately results in a restricted holiday choice for homosexual tourists.

Key Words:

- 'Pink Pound', Homophobia, Gay Tourism

Discussion Paper:

In Britain, Six per cent of the population, or about 3.6 million, are either gay or lesbian (Campbell, 2005). Although this may seem like a relatively small amount in a population of 60 million, studies into the spending habits of the homosexual community has meant that this figure, particularly in the leisure, entertainment and tourism industry is hugely significant.

As an industry, Brassington describes how the holiday/ tourism market lends itself to gay targeting by both mainstream and specialised companies (Brassington, 2006). Pritchard strengthens this argument, discussing how an estimated 5- 25 million gay men and women spend more than 10 billion dollars a year on travel products. She also describes how according to the International Gay Travel Association, its members book over a billion dollars worth of airline tickets a year (Pritchard, 1998). According to a survey conducted by Mintel, in 2003, gay travelers reported spending 25% more on leisure travel than heterosexual travelers, and 96% of respondents had taken at least one, short leisure trip in the previous year, compared to just 56% of mainstream/ heterosexual travelers (Mintel, 2003) However, despite the growing significance of 'The Pink Pound' in modern living, certain destinations still view homosexuality as immoral and refuse to accept the potentially huge economic benefit that homosexual tourism can offer. Does this refusal of 'The Pink Pound' restrict the choice in holiday destination for the homosexual tourist?

When looking at anti- gay holiday destinations, Knell describes how in Egypt, laws on public morality are used against gay people and mean they live under continual threat of harassment and imprisonment (Knell, 2010). Saleh strengthens this by describing how in 2004 Egypt was criticised for its treatment of homosexuals by the New York- based Human Rights Watch (Saleh, 2004). Egypt, however, is not the only holiday destination that chooses religion and morals over the 'Pink Pound'. Despite their liberal appearance, many Caribbean resorts can also be extremely unwelcoming towards gay tourists (Pritchard, 1998). Padgett confirms this in an article for Time Magazine, suggesting that due to its rampant violence against gays and lesbians, Jamaica is becoming the most homophobic place on earth (Padgett, 2006).

Pro- gay holiday destinations include places such as Sydney. Sydney as a destination has become positioned by the gay tourism industry as a place of origin for gay men, and a 'Gay Homeland' in the South Pacific (Waitt, 2006). Markwell develops this by suggesting that the recent emergence of Sydney as 'The Gay Capital of the South Pacific' is largely down to the growth and development of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and the rapid diversification of the Australian gay and lesbian tourism industry (Markwell, 2002). In an article for The Independent in 2001, Boggan described how London was in the process of attempting to take over from Sydney and San Francisco in an attempt to become the gay capital of the world. He predicted that in achieving this, it could net the city £1bn a year from 'The Pink Pound', increasing on existing tourism officials estimates that gay visitors to London already generated £800m in income (Boggan, 2001).

When conducting research into the motivations behind homosexual travel, Cliff indicated that 29.3% of respondents perceived 'the opportunity to have sex' as being of most important, with 35.3% of respondents suggesting that this was fairly important to them in their holiday experience (Clift, 1999). This alone makes visiting none- gay friendly destinations such as the examples of Egypt and Jamaica incredibly difficult, unless the traveler was to modify their behavior accordingly (Hughes, 2002). Pritchard emphasises the importance of safety when gay tourists are selecting a destination to visit. She suggests that the homosexual tourist is more inclined to make repeat visits to a destination rather than risking visiting a place that they might feel unwelcome, or discriminated against (Pritchard, 2000).

Through looking into destinations that both accept homosexuality and reject it, an insight into whether or not the sexual orientation of a person restricts their holiday choice has been given. The existing literature along with the primary research conducted highlight what the average homosexual male looks for in a holiday, and aspects of a holiday/ holiday destination that are important to them. The underlying consensus was the desire to feel safe and not face prejudice from people around them because of their sexuality. With this in mind, along with other key factors highlighted, there appears to be a strong argument suggesting that despite the power of 'The Pink Pound', the choice of holiday destination for a gay man is restricted, particularly when comparing the needs of the homosexual tourist to the morals and beliefs of a homophobic destination.

Clift, S & Forrest, S. (1999). Gay men and tourism: destinations and holiday motivations. Tourism Management. 20 (1), 615- 625.

Hughes, H. (2002). Gay men's holiday destination choice: a case of risk and avoidance. International Journal of Tourism Research. 4 (4), 299- 312.

Pritchard, A, Morgan, N & Sedgely, D. (1998). Reaching out to the gay tourist: opportunities and threats in an emerging market segment. Tourism Management. 19 (3), 273- 282.

3 Wrongs Don't Make a Right but 3 Lefts Do
Author: Nikolay Alamanov
This work shows excellent content, organisation and presentation. The evidence of independent reading is there and the secondary research conducted enforces the argument of the author and makes the work more credible. The extent to which analytical thinking is shown stays somehow unclear to me but it is the nature of the discussion paper that requires summary of the main findings and thus it has nothing to do with the author's ability to sustain an argument which without a doubt could be observed in the full paper. In fact the summary seems to be very well done and the conclusion itself clearly reveals the main finding of the author and the point made that some destinations disesteem the financial benefits of "The Pink Pound" due to their own strict moral views.

Simon, your work fits perfectly in the strand "Pride and Prejudice". Your paper caught my eye because it indirectly relates to my own work. One of the main points I made was that the benefits of interaction are disregarded due to human ignorance, vanity and imaginary sense of superiority that Mills (1991: 71) describes as a "fantasy of dominance". The German professor Ulrich Beck argues that disrespecting the dignity of difference leads to intolerance - your work makes it clear that intolerance and homophobic behaviour are the main problem for the gay tourist. Williams (2004) suggests that trust is the first step towards a solution. I would add understanding to the picture.

You see, disrespectful and narrow minded human behaviour is clearly the problem in the case of "The Pink Pound". Such behaviour is unacceptable and in a perfect world actions will be taken to resolve the problem. On the other hand, you would agree with me that in their quest to be accepted some gay tourists show off their gayness too much. I will give a seemingly unrelated example with the rock monasteries in Greece where all women must wear skirts when they enter the temple. This seems absolutely ridiculous to some tourists but it is the way things are and the respectful thing to do is to put the skirt on and not make a fuss. So if homosexuality is not very well accepted in Egypt or in fact in any other Muslim country, one of the reasons being their super strict beliefs, then, I guess, a little understanding is needed so if a homosexual couple wants to get intimate on the beach, watching the sunset, they should accept that the Muslim countries are not the best place for that and should go to a more liberal destination for their romantic holiday.

Bottom line, in a perfect world people would respect difference and homophobic behaviour, racism and discrimination of any sort will not exist; however, we do not live in a perfect world. That is why when it comes to such scenarios understanding and compromise from both sides are important.
Modify what is not accepted in public while abroad
Author: Christopher Cross
This conference paper is very informative and interesting. You have researched some fantastic demographical data on the gay culture within the UK and the kind of reception gay people get when travelling aboard in various countries. Your paper has encouraged some though into where and why gay people travel to where they do. The primary reason why I am going to comment on this paper is that you have made it both interesting and open for further thought.

Destinations are increasingly acknowledging the benefits of attracting the 'pink pound' (Smith et al, 2009). As your paper points out that gay travellers spend up to 25% more on travel that heterosexual travellers and that 35.3% travel for the opportunity to have sex. Even straight people travel for the opportunity to have sex as they are in different surroundings and feel more adventurous (Mintel, 2003). In my opinion, holiday choices should not restrict destination selection as a result on ones sexuality. According to Hughes 2002, the situation remains this way because the gay community simply avoid such places as a result of their safety. If gay individuals/couples want to travel and experience the world, they are able to do so. They are able to do it at a cost of modifying their behaviours in public places. I totally agree with the fact that places like Egypt remain to discourage gay tourists as a result of their beliefs but they are unable to stop gay people travelling there. They are able to take action on what goes on outside of the hotel room but inside.

When individuals travel abroad to tourist destinations, it remains essential that the tourists respect local cultures and traditions. In this case, not showing affection to one another and making any unaccepted references are ways to minimise destination selection through sexuality. Some parts of the world remain very traditional and make their views very clear, particularly in Muslim states. Even straight people have to be married to even kiss in public places in destinations like the United Arab Emirates (BBC, 2010). It is established that the gay community generally avoid tourist destinations that are unwelcoming to them remains fairly central (Hughes, 2002).

In summation, the 'pink pound' remains powerful at some tourist destinations but in others, due to strong beliefs and traditions, it does not. The importance and benefits of the pink pound are being acknowledged but at a slow pace. This is unlikely to change which is a contributing sign that some nations still have some way to go when accepting people for who they are. Even in some parts in the UK, there are homophobic communities. Moreover, with more education, awareness, resilience and time, maybe the world will become a more acceptable place. The gist of the story is that in an ideal world everybody would accept everyone for who they are but it is not so the best way to experience different cultures without fear is to modify behaviours.


BBC (2010) Jailed Dubai couple for kissing in public. [online] [accessed 29 April 2010] Available via: <http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8602449.stm>.

Hughes, H., 2002. Gay Men's Holiday Destination Choice: A Case of Risk and Avoidance. International Journal of Tourism Research, 4 (4), pp. 299-312.

Smith. M, Macleod, N and Roberts. H, M (2009) Key concepts on tourist studies. London:Sage publishing.
Bravo to Brooks!
Author: Sean Gorrod
As my paper focused on the gay market, in particular the new honeymoon product for LGBT people, it was inevitable that I would choose your paper to review as your focus was part of my literature review for the final conference paper. Therefore I anticipated what you had to say on the subject of the pink pound and of its relevance.

From my judgement Simon, this paper is well structured and you approach the subject from all different angles providing strong references to support your argument with reference to: Hughes, 2002 & Clift, 1999. The fact that there is limited literature on this field of study, and your paper provides many citations shows that you have conducted a thorough investigation into the secondary research available. In addition, you provide demographical data by utilising figures from a range of authors. Together this enhances the validity of your conference paper as you do not throughout the paper focus primarily on one key author.

Your paper reveals how gay and lesbians spend more than 10 billion dollars a year on travel products and therefore stating how the pink pound is strong. I find this knowledge fascinating and to be perfectly honest, I envy this information as it would have been perfect to link with the concept of the new gay honeymoon products for my conference.

The paper also reflects on the idea of pro-gay and anti-gay destinations and the motivations to and to not travel, you touched upon ideas like; feeling comfortable, the opportunity to have sex (Mintel, 2003) and prejudices against homosexuals on holiday. This was well written and stayed true to the paper.

However, there is one point which can be contradicted and that is the idea by Pritchard (2000) who claims how homosexual people are inclined to repeat a destination to feel comfortable rather than taking a risk and be discriminated whilst on holiday. I have to argue against this case as my conference paper set out to find if the typical gay holiday destination was different to that of the homosexual honeymoon destination and my findings provided a new overview on the matter. The fact that gay people mentioned they have been on a honeymoon to destinations like the Caribbean and Nepal, destinations notorious for discrimination against homosexuals, provided a view that gay honeymooners would be willing to take that risk to gain the equality and experience of a 'normal' heterosexual honeymoon. On the other hand, this was a minority of the sample and overall, the patterns which emerged where pro-gay friendly destinations, but the risk takers involved cannot be ignored and therefore is something to think about in the future.

Pritchard (1998) also claimed that Caribbean destinations are extremely unwelcoming to homosexuals. I have to point out, when providing research for my dissertation I was told to be careful when using material by Pritchard or Morgan, and from these assumptions I can see why, as research elsewhere contradicts them.

Overall, this paper for me was my favourite in the strand of 'pride and prejudice', not only was it on a similar topic, but you showed great enthusiasm in your writing and the information you provided addresses a range of issues relating to the pink pound, and you even touch upon ideas which I didn't, so bravo!


Clift, S & Forrest, S. (1999). Gay men and tourism: destinations and holiday motivations. Tourism Management. 20 (1), 615- 625.

Hughes, H. (2002). Gay Men's Holiday Destination Choice: A Case of Risk and Avoidance. International Journal of Tourism Research , 4 (4), 299-312.

Mintel. (2003). The Gay Holiday Market. Market Intelligence Report UK, London: Mintel Publishers.

Pritchard, A, Morgan, N & Sedgely, D. (1998). Reaching out to the gay tourist: opportunities and threats in an emerging market segment. Tourism Management. 19 (3), 273- 282

Interesting and fact full!
Author: Jenna Arkinstall
This paper caught my eye due to similarities in study, including the pink pound, gay tourism and homophobia.

I would first like to mention that this paper is very well backed up with plenty of references, which is the sign of a good argument.

Within regards to the population of British gay and lesbian individuals, it is agreed that although it may seem like a small number, it is still a rather profitable area especially for the tourism industry, to be precise, a study conduct by Mintel (2005) showed that gay tourism was worth £3billion. With a high number of spenditure like this, it is no wonder that holiday providers are now widening their target markets.

I like how you have mentioned that there are countries that are still largely homophobic. It was discovered within my study that there are still approximately 75 countries that still find it illegal to be a homosexual. Some countries have a death penalty for those found to be homosexual and many other countries have imprisonment as the penalty, (Sodomy Laws, 2007).

It would be interesting to see more information on the pro gay destinations, such as more up to date references to further what has already been mentioned, especially about London wanting to become the gay capital of the world, it would be interesting to see where they are with this currently, as the reference provided was several years ago.

It is agreed that if the gay tourist wants 'sex' to be a part of their holiday, that they should be aware which countries to avoid, and if they are still adamant about travelling to one of those countries, they must be aware of what is acceptable and what is not, and adjust their lifestyle whilst on holiday to avoid any inconveniences to both the visitor and the local community.

Considering the title includes 'the pink pound', it is assumed that the paper would have some more in depth information on what exactly the pink pound is and its worth, although the worth is briefly mentioned. It is felt that as this is mentioned within the title, there could have possibly been more focus on the topic. However, this paper does provide a good argument as to whether there is a restriction on holidays due to the sexuality of the individual.

Overall, it is thought that this paper is well written with plenty of references to back up all aspects mentioned. It is thought that some areas could have been concentrated on a bit more, however it is thought that this would have been touched on in more depth in the original paper. It would be interesting to view the original paper as this would provide more insight into each of the aspects mentioned. This paper was interesting to read and highlighted some important and interesting facts.


Management Today (2008) The Pink Pound is Worth £81bn. [online]. [Accesed on: 13th April 2010] Available at: <http://academic.mintel.com/sinatra/oxygen_academic/search_results/show&/display/id=173628/display/id=383354>.

Sodomy Laws (2007) Sodomy Laws Around The World. [online]. [accessed on: 6th May 2010] Available via: <http://www.sodomylaws.org/>.