The situation of LGBTQ people in many regions around the world is not pleasant to say the least. One of these regions is also the Caribbean which is not quite LGBTQ-friendly.
And while the human rights issue is significantly evident in these contexts, the discrimination of these minorities also has its economic implications and essentially also affects the tourism industry, as revealed in a study by Open for Business (OFB) last week.
The report analyzed 12 English-speaking countries in the region (e. g. Jamaica, the Bahamas, Barbados) and came to a clear conclusion that the “not quite” LGBTQ-friendly attitude of these states leads to quite significant economic losses.
Discriminatory Laws and Violence
The base of the problem lies in the legislation of the countries. Same-sex couple sexual activity is criminalized in 9 out of the 12 countries. Moreover, none of the countries legalize gender change or gender marks on official IDs.
But is not only the official line of the respective governments that is causing problems to the LGBTQ community in the Caribbean. There is also a lot of violence against these minorities and a general social stigma within the society.
Tourism Is One of the ‘Casualties’
As mentioned above, OFB’s report came to a conclusion that not so friendly approaches towards minorities have economic implications, which also affects the tourism sector. It is no surprise that tourism is of enormous importance to the countries analyzed, as it represents 14 % of the GDP of these countries.
According to the report, anti-LGBTQ laws, violence and social stigma lead to yearly losses between $435 million and $689 million for the region, or 0.57-0.93% of the regional GDP.
Moreover, according to the study, 18 % of the people surveyed would not go on vacation to the region, citing anti-LGBTQ discrimination as the main reason of this choice.
The report could thus serve as a tool for the analyzed countries, as the Caribbean looks to recover from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.