Civil Union Law set to Boost LGBT Travel to Hawaii
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Maui hopes to lure LGBT travelers to its sun-drenched shores (image Hawaii Tourism Authority)
A new law legalizing civil unions in Hawaii is expected to lead to an upsurge in gay and lesbian travel to the state, meaning a windfall for the islands’ hotels, resorts and event planners.
News of the legislation, which came into effect on January 1, has seen a spike in the number of hotels actively reaching out to the gay and lesbian community, as same-sex couples look to the state to formalize their relationships, according to The Maui News.
Chuck Spence, owner of the Maui Sunseeker LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Resort in Kihei told the newspaper forward bookings at his property had risen by 50 per cent over the year before.
“We’ve had 10 ceremonies booked so far,” he said.
“Already we’ve also seen an immediate boost in bookings, and not just because of civil unions, but because the law also opens up the perception by the gay and lesbian community that Hawaii is truly a welcoming state.”
Among the resorts looking to lure same-sex couples their way is the Grand Wailea, whose managing director Matt Bailey said that reaching out to gay and lesbian travelers not only made good business sense, but was also “the right thing to do”.
“Maui has a nurturing and welcoming environment, with a small-town feel and open-mindedness to it,” he remarked.
“I wish I could say it was all altruistic, but we’re not trying to make a political statement.”
State Senator Roz Baker, who represents West and South Maui said she hoped the law would add to the appeal of Hawaii as a destination for couples.
“The wedding business has always been good to Maui,” she commented.
“Let’s face it, too, nowhere is the weather nicer in January, or are there as many beautiful places to visit year round, than in Hawaii.”
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H