Will the LGBTQ Community Be the First to Travel?

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday June 2, 2020

A recent survey by Community Marketing & Insights sheds light on the ever-shifting subject of leisure travel amid the coronavirus.

The Harris Poll conducted a travel survey in early May 2020 that compared LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ travelers. The results revealed that the queer community is more likely to travel sooner than their non-LGBTQ counterparts.

Community Marketing & Insights' survey aimed to understand the planning of LGBTQ travelers in the months to come. Although the majority of participants (69%) indicated a "pent up" desire to travel again, the economic, health and logistical impact of making that happen has had a dramatic effect on the tourism and hospitality industries.

Key takeaways include the desire for LGBTQ travelers to participate in less crowded outdoor activities. Pride events, which have often driven summer travel (particularly in June) have been canceled, with many cities creating virtual events.

"What is clear is that LGBTQ travel patterns will change this summer and into the fall," states the report. "Destinations that can pivot and adjust to the 'new travel normal' will be at the best advantage to minimize negative impacts on their local tourism industry."

6 Things to Know About LGBTQ Travel and COVID-19

The following data reveals key benchmarks and considerations for LGBTQ travel amid COVID-19.

Financial impact — 49% of LGBTQ participants indicated that COVID-19 has had a negative financial impact on their lives. Of those who experienced a negative financial impact, 26% had been laid off, furloughed, or lost their job, and 22% said they were still at work, but that their hours or pay had been reduced.

Trip cancelations among LGBTQ Travelers — 72% of the LGBTQ travelers have already canceled a vacation in 2020 because of COVID-19. This is both an impressive and unfortunate number and demonstrates the tremendous revenue loss for the travel industry.

Desire to travel again — 69% of all LGBTQ participants indicated an extreme or moderate desire to travel again for vacation. Only 12% said that they had no desire to travel for vacation.

Plans to travel again — 68% of LGBTQ Vacation Travelers (i.e. community members who took a vacation in 2019) plan to take at least one overnight vacation trip during the remainder of 2020, including 42% planning two or more vacations. These are impressive percentages given the current travel climate.

Location, Location, Location — Among LGBTQ travelers, there is a strong interest in drive vacations in 2020. For participants open to air travel, distance within the U.S. does not seem so important, once they commit to air travel. Many LGBTQ travelers are still considering international vacations. However, when asked directly, there appears to be a real concern over the safety of air travel, at least for the summer of 2020. Among those planning vacations, 69% were considering destinations within driving distance of their homes.

Cruise Crisis — Among LGBTQ Vacation Travelers, only 2% indicated that they are likely to take a cruise vacation, with another 5% indicating that they would consider a cruise vacation in 2020. For comparison, in 2019, 11% of LGBTQ Vacation Travelers had taken a cruise.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's Senior Editor, Features & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.