Tourism

#LoveWins for these travel brands

Daisy Melwani

If your Facebook page on the weekend wasn’t a stream of rainbows, we’re not sure who your friends are and more importantly, which travel brands you like.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this weekend, by now you’d know about the historical ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court legalising same-sex marriage across all 50 states in America.

So, what does this mean for travel brands here and abroad? A chance to voice support and make a play for the lucrative pink dollar.

According to Twitter stats, the hashtag #SCOTUS received 1,000 tweets per minute from roughly 50,000 people, and within the first hour of ruling, airlines, hotels, and tourism boards were some of the companies to celebrate online.

While Sydney has its annual Mardi-Gras parade drawing thousands of LGBT visitors to its shores each March, other cities across the nation and the globe have also been promoting their destinations as LGBT friendly, even in the business sector.

For instance, LGBTQ managing director for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, Richard Gray, who told skift the ruling was the “icing on the cake for us”.

“We made a commitment in 1996 to be LGBTQ friendly and we launched #LoveIsLove in February when we got marriage equality in Florida. We’re thankful to corporate America for their help with this over the years,” he said.

“I don’t think [the ruling] will change what we do. Last year we had 1.5 million LGBT visitors come to Fort Lauderdale who spent $1.5 billion dollars and I’m sure that will go up next year. But this is an opportunity for other destinations to really sit down and really be a little bit more strategic than they’ve been and focus more on LGBT tourism. LGBT tourism made us the destination we are today with a sense of ease.”

Here are how other travel brands and destinations reacted over the weekend:

Marriott: “It’s not simply just the right thing for business, it’s just the right thing to do. We Joined the Supreme Court’s amicus briefing on the case for marriage equality and Marriott was a signatory on this. It just so happens that the world is focused on LGBT folks but we’re not only focusing on LGBT travellers even though that’s very important to us,” Multicultural Affairs, VP Apoorva Gandhi.

Expedia: “Expedia, Inc., is a proud supporter of marriage equality for same-sex couples everywhere, and we are grateful on behalf of our diverse customers, clients, partners and employees, for the Supreme Court decision today and the important step forward this represents,” ceo, Dara Khosrowshahi.

International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association: “We celebrate a great victory for equality and love today, as the United States becomes the 20th country in the world to grant nationwide marriage rights to same-sex couples. When a country legally supports its LGBT citizens, we know the positive impact transcends borders. Global gay and lesbian travelers want to experience destinations where their relationships are respected, and now the U.S. will be one of them,” president & ceo, John Tanzilla.

Kimpton Hotels: “We knew the SCOTUS decision was just around the corner and thought a beautifully designed animation of all 50 states lighting up would be the most visually impactful. It’s moving, highly shareable and best of all, celebratory. We’ve always been committed to creating a welcoming, inclusive environment for our guests and employees and couldn’t be more thrilled with this milestone ruling,” ceo, Mike DeFrino.


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