ATTITUDES TO GAY TOURISM ARE CHANGING WORLDWIDE

Bill Alen - Jun 17, 2019
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Gay tourism has become a hot topic in many countries that plan to invest in the LGBT market. Especially in Asia, the sector has been discussed since Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

Since the historic vote in May 2017 in Taiwan's parliament, legalizing same-sex marriage, Taiwanese and foreign journalists have been on the lookout for newlyweds. Taiwan is now the first country in Asia to formalize gay marriage which suggests that further development of gay tourism may be expected.

A few months ago, India overturned a British-era law criminalizing "gay sex" in a landmark decision by the country's Supreme Court. This decision sparked a debate about a colonial relic that the rest of Asia still finds difficult to reject.

Indian legends eagerly describe relationships and sexually ambiguous individuals. Ancient accounts show that sexual relations of any kind were well accepted centuries ago. Without going so far, India has long recognized, as a characteristic of its society, transgender people known as "hijra".

However, Singapore prefers not to "shine a spotlight" on LGBT issues. The city-state referred to last year's debate on the repeal of Article 377A of the Penal Code, which criminalizes same-sex sexual relations. However, this legislation is not actively enforced. The government is currently reviewing the penal code.

Although (far-right) President Jair Bolsonaro recently stated that Brazil "cannot be a nation of the gay world, of gay tourism", a study conducted by the Brazilian Small Business Support Service (SEBRAE) reveals that LGBT people constitute one of the most important segments of the country's potential economic income for tourism.

According to the same study, published earlier this year, Brazil is the Latin American country with the highest potential for income growth in terms of gay tourism. In 2017, the sector grew by about 11% in the country, while tourism, overall, reached only 3.5%.

In Argentina, homosexuality has been legal since 1853, well before the United Kingdom in 1967 and the United States in 2003. It was also the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage in July 2010, which provided for full adoption rights. Buenos Aires, the capital, is a "gay friendly" city with several hotels or gay rentals. The city is home to the largest "Gay Pride" in Latin America.

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