Rio de Janeiro nips New York’s heels as hottest gay travel spot (Sept 2012)

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which will host the Summer Olympics in 2016, is gaining ground on New York City as the world’s most popular destination for GLBTQ tourists.

Marketing firm Out Now released findings of its GLBTQ tourism study on Monday. The study shows New York retained its ranking as the No. 1 global destination for GLBTQ travelers. Rio replaced Sydney, Australia, in the No. 2 spot. Sydney slid to No. 3.

New York scored 198 out of a maximum of 200 points in the study, based on surveys of travelers around the world regarding which places they’d like to visit in the next three years. Rio’s score was 194, with Sydney earning 191 points.

Rounding out the top 10 cities for 2013 were:

4. London (previous rank: 6).

5. San Francisco (previous rank: 5).

6. Paris (previous rank: 4).

7. Buenos Aires, Argentina (previous rank: 7).

8. Tokyo (previous rank: 8).

9. Amsterdam (previous rank: 12).

10. Los Angeles/West Hollywood (previous rank: 11).


Among favored countries, France topped the list, up from the No. 2 spot in 2011. In second place was the United Kingdom, which moved up two notches from last year. The United States dropped to the No. 3 position from No. 1.

Making up the rest of the top 10 countries for 2013 were:

4. Italy (previous rank: 5).

5. Spain (previous rank: 3).

6. Australia (previous rank: 7).

7. Germany (previous rank: 6).

8. Canada (previous rank: 8).

9. Greece (previous rank: not ranked).

10. Argentina (previous rank: 9).

Darren Cooper, a senior consultant at Out Now, said in a news release that moving up or down even one notch on the list can mean hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism revenue for a destination. Out Now’s research indicates total tourism spending by GLBTQ travelers will exceed $165 billion in 2012.

“Interestingly, London was the top European destination for many markets, such as the U.S. and Australian (study) samples, but respondents from Latin America were generally more interested in Paris than in London,” Cooper said. “It was also quite noticeable this year that Latin American LGBT respondents in particular have turned away from the United States as a desired travel destination for 2013 and beyond.”