LGBT Travel Market Growing Beyond Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta, according to the agents and operators we’ve spoken to on the subject, was the first LGBT-welcoming destination in Mexico.
About 10 to 15 years ago, the destination was considered the LGBT mecca of Mexico and is still often described as the “gay capital of Mexico.”
But in the last few years, other Mexico destinations have come around to this lucrative and loyal market.
“I think if you look back, Puerto Vallarta was kind of a stepping stone for [the LGBT market in] Mexico, but you can see that throughout the resorts,” says Federico Moreno-Nickerson, director of product development for the Caribbean and Mexico for Classic Vacations. “Quite frankly, Mexico City is a destination that is at the forefront of the LGBT community and LGBT rights. That might not be the case in secondary destinations throughout the interior of Mexico because they may be a couple of steps behind in terms philosophy or customs, but without a doubt, Mexico welcomes the LGBT community, not only Puerto Vallarta, but in all the major destinations that you see – Cancun, Riviera Maya and Los Cabos - without a doubt - and Mexico City.”
In fact, Mark Benson, vice president of leisure product and sales support for Flight Centre, the parent company of GOGO Vacations, describes the market as “the most profitable market to go into,” which is why his company created a brochure roughly 10 years ago targeting the LGBT market.
Benson notes that the sensitivity training, which he considered “patronizing” and was required by most companies about a decade ago, is no longer required by his company.
“All the caveats [with selling the LGBT market] have totally gone away,” says Benson. “Fast forward 10 years on and in working with this market and now starting to develop gay wedding groups to Mexico, and we have a program in place for that, attacking the market more vigorously now.”
And Benson, like Moreno-Nickerson, has seen the popular LGBT tourist destinations in Mexico spread beyond Puerto Vallarta.
Read more about Mexico’s evolving LGBT and family travel markets at Travel Agent Central
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