Published On: Mon, Jul 20th, 2015

Barbados not pursuing gay tourists – Curacao is a leading destination for LGBT travellers

LGBT-tourism-toerismeMinister of Tourism Richard Sealy doesn’t expect to see any “radical changes” to Barbados’s approach to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) tourism.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY in an interview this afternoon, Sealy, who is also Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), admitted that while some destinations had taken a different approach in trying to tap into the lucrative market, he did not expect a similar position from Barbados.

Only yesterday, Evangelical churches made it clear they would staunchly oppose any attempt to legalize same-sex marriage here.

Their statement followed similar sentiments expressed by the Anglican clergy and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the West Indies (PAWI).

Curacao is a leading destination for LGBT travellers. The country has aggressively pursued this market, which is worth over BDS$400 billion a year, according to Out Now Global, a consulting company that specializes in understanding the LGBT market.

According to the Curaçao Tourism Board, the country’s immediate goal is to double the 40,000 North American visitors to 80,000 a year, by tapping into niche markets such as Jewish heritage and gay travel.

CTO Chairman and Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy:

“I don’t expect anything rash to be happening in Barbados anytime soon at all,”

Sealy said.

“In Barbados we are pretty much iron clad on how we feel about those issues, but some of our neighbours are taking different views and different approaches. It is interesting to observe, and clearly if tourism is indeed for the country, then obviously we have to define and decide what type of society we want before we just necessarily make any decisions to suit the tourist.

“We are doing well and people like what we have. . .”

he added.

However, Sealy insisted the CTO was neither afraid, nor reluctant, to address controversial issues.

He said topics involving the gay community, the legalization of marijuana, as well as casino gambling, would all be addressed by members of the organization.

“As chairman of the CTO, there are 30 members, and there are different views on this issue, [and] some are more aggressive in how they go after those segments.

“The CTO is not afraid to address those issues. The question of the LGBT market, the question of the legalization of marijuana, the question of casinos, and not simply gaming, will all be addressed,”

Sealy assured.

The LGBT market is one of the subjects to be discussed at the next CTO conference in Curacao in October.

By Barbados Today

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