$2,300 is the average amount gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people expected to spend between May and August 2009 on travel, according to a survey by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications.
$1,500 is the average amount straight people expected to spend.
"A progressive, gay-friendly magnet for creative spirits and outdoorsy types"—Outtraveler.com’s assessment of Santa Fe
Santa Fe has long marketed itself as a gay-friendly travel destination. Unlike similar boosterish boasts, this one holds some truth. Gay magazines and guides consistently feature Santa Fe. A new public television series, "Out and About with Scot Weaver," is shooting its first episode here.
And if recent market research also holds some truth, Santa Fe's reputation for open-mindedness may help mitigate the effects of this recession.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people were less likely than straight people to scale back their summer travel plans, according to an April consumer survey of 2,401 American adults by the market research firm Harris Interactive, proposed by Washington, DC-based Witeck-Combs Communications, which specializes in the LGBT market. The survey is noteworthy for its scope.
"A lot of gay market research is focused only on gay people," CEO Bob Witeck says. "We're looking at what makes us the same and what makes us different. Travel is one of the breakouts."
Extrapolating from the 146 respondents who self-identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, the survey found they were much less likely than straight people to save money on travel by cooking instead of eating out, staying with family instead of getting a room and taking a "staycation" instead of skipping town.
"Travel has been a priority for gay people for a lot of reasons," Witeck says. Especially for small-town gays, it can be hard—and risky—to meet people at home. The importance of a temporary escape to a friendly destination like Santa Fe increases for those who haven't come out at home.
And some LGBT travelers—though by no means all—enjoy a travel savings from the get-go: no kids.
The Santa Fe Convention & Visitors Bureau and the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association cohost a cocktail reception aimed at helping local businesses "gain global visibility within the lucrative [LGBT] travel market" at 5:30 pm, Aug. 12 at the Hotel St. Francis.