Tailormade travel company Kuoni has revealed the world’s most popular LGBTQ+ honeymoon destinations – and some of them are surprising. Jenny Southan reports
To mark ten years since legislation was passed in July 2013 to allow same-sex couples in England and Wales to marry, Kuoni has published its LGBTQ+ Honeymoon Report to show how newly wed queer couples are travelling.
According to Kuoni, the ten most popular LGBTQ+ honeymoon destinations are:
- North America
- South Africa
Counter-intuitively, in many cases couples are travelling to places where being gay can be a criminal offence, such as the Maldives, Dubai, the Caribbean and East Africa (Globetrender calls these trips “Rainbow Rebellions” – download our Future of Queer Travel trend report to learn more.)
They are also choosing places that haven’t necessarily legalised gay marriage for local people – these include queer-friendly Greece and Thailand – but also countries with anti-LGBTQ+ governments such as Italy (where a new right-wing prime minister is breaking up lesbian families), Mauritius and Bali. Singapore decriminalised homosexuality in late 2022 but gay marriage is still not legal.
Kuoni says couples are choosing places “based on their own preferences, research and advice from trusted travel experts”.
The report also highlights countries that have taken steps to be more LGBTQ+ positive in the past ten years. Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis and Singapore repealed anti-gay legislation and it’s hoped Sri Lanka is moving that way this year.
After surveying 1,013 people who identify as part of LGBTQ+ community, the report shows that some queer couples are hesitant about ticking bucket-list destinations off their list though due to concerns about negative reactions to their LGBTQ+ identity, which emphasises the importance of having advice from trusted travel experts and fostering LGBTQ+ inclusivity worldwide.
The majority of queer travellers prefer to play it safe on honeymoon, with 57 per cent of respondents actively seeking out LGBTQ+ friendly destinations. Most also do their own research before speaking to a travel company.
The survey revealed that another key trend is privacy and exclusivity, with many LGBTQ+ couples opting for private villas instead of resorts, to ensure privacy in countries without true marriage equality.
56 per cent of respondents stated that it was either “important” or “extremely important” to have LGBTQ+ inclusive accommodation while travelling.
At the same time, Kuoni’s own insight and data demonstrates an increasing desire amongst LGBTQ+ couples to explore diverse destinations including those traditionally considered less LGBTQ+ friendly.
44 per cent of LGBTQ+ travellers prioritise the overall destination experience regardless of feelings towards LGBTQ+ people.
By releasing the report Kuoni says it “aims to celebrate the diversity of honeymoon experiences, whist at the same time raising awareness about the challenges still faced by LGBTQ+ honeymooners who want to explore and enjoy the world”.
The report not only celebrates the progress made in the last decade but also serves as a roadmap for the future, ensuring that LGBTQ+ couples can “embark on their honeymoon journeys with confidence and joy”.
Mark Duguid, managing director of Kuoni, says: “When I travel with my partner Scott, I never hide who I am.” But not everyone has this level of self-assuarance and may feel they need to modify their behaviour to hide their sexual orientation.
Duguid says: “With LGBTQ+ travel, the talk can often turn reactive quite quickly – boycotting certain destinations and so on. In reality the conversation is much more nuanced than that, so we give our customers the information to make educated choices and navigate those issues in a very individual way with our staff. And we can have those chats because many of those staff have experienced those destinations themselves.”
As part of its drive towards inclusivity, Kuoni is introducing the “Kuoni Promise” – a commitment to providing “exceptional service for everyone throughout their honeymoon journey and beyond”. Apparently, the pledge is “underpinned by the company’s long-standing dedication to LGBTQ+ inclusivity”.
Duguid says: “Kuoni always been committed to inclusivity and ensuring that every traveller feels safe, valued and celebrated. This report and the introduction of the Kuoni Promise is a testament to that commitment. We want to inspire confidence with LGBTQ+ honeymooners that they can trust Kuoni to provide exceptional service, inclusive experiences and expert guidance every step of the way.”