LESBIAN TRAVELERS ARE MORE PRESENT than ever in the travel and tourism industry according to Tanya Churchmuch, founder and president, MuchPR, a travel and LGBTQ+ public relations firm based in New York City.
“Lesbian travelers have evolved in that we are now looking to be more represented in the LGBTQ spectrum,” she said. “For so long, the ‘L’ was more of a token acknowledgement, and to be honest, it often still is. But things are improving within the queer travel community.”
In addition to her other activities, Churchmuch serves as lesbian brand ambassador for Out Adventures, a tour operator that just launched a series of programs for lesbians in 2020. “For 10 years, [Out Adventures had] mainly been offering group tours aimed at gay men, but for 2020 they felt that it was important to develop offerings specifically for lesbians,” she said. “This is a very rare move in our industry. While many gay men talk about lesbian visibility in travel, it’s not often that gay men put their money where their mouth is and invest in the market. Also, while there are many gay men in senior leadership roles in the travel and tourism industry, there are very few lesbians in these positions. Visibility counts, and it’s important that more lesbians are given the opportunity to represent the community at this level.”
What about the travelers themselves? “The biggest way that the ‘L’ segment differs from other travelers is the fact that we are women, and that generally comes first in our travel considerations,” Churchmuch said. “Will we be safe as women where we go? Is it safe for us to walk the streets alone at night or with a female partner?”
Churchmuch also noted the lesbian travel niche often overlaps with family travel. “Many more lesbians are parents with children living at home, compared to the rest of the LGBTQ community, so family travel also plays a bigger role,” she explained.
Destinations and organizations that recognize this market tend to build a devoted following, Churchmuch added. “Places like Provincetown, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York City and Vancouver, which have long marketed to the lesbian community, remain very popular lesbian destinations.”
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