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An exploratory study of gay travelers: socio-demographic analysis

Heejung Ro (Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA)
Eric D. Olson (Department of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, USA)
Youngsoo Choi (College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Niagara University, New York, New York, USA)

Tourism Review

ISSN: 1660-5373

Article publication date: 18 April 2017




This exploratory study aims to examine gay travelers’ travel psychographics (allocentricity and psychocentricity) in relation to openness about sexual orientation, collective self-esteem and socio-demographic variables.


A survey is developed and study participants are recruited from attendees at a large annual gay event. A total of 196 gay men were used as samples for correlation analysis and independent samples t-tests.


The findings suggest that collective self-esteem is positively correlated with allocentricity. Also, gay couples showed higher allocentricity than single gay men, and white/Caucasian gay men showed higher allocentricity than other ethnic minorities gay men. Yet, psychocentricity was higher for lower income gay men than higher income gay men.

Practical implications

Tourism marketers should recognize that the gay market is not as homogenous as it has been portrayed in the tourism literature. Hospitality service providers and destination marketers should be aware of the importance of the gay community, gay travelers’ psychographics and, more importantly, the diversity within the gay market to develop effective products and services to better position themselves in this niche market.


This research contributes to the tourism literature by enhancing the understanding of gay travelers’ socio-demographic profiles and their travel-related behaviors and perceptions.



Ro, H., Olson, E.D. and Choi, Y. (2017), "An exploratory study of gay travelers: socio-demographic analysis", Tourism Review, Vol. 72 No. 1, pp. 15-27.



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