GRAND RAPIDS, MI — There are 37 states with marriage equality and the fact that Michigan isn’t one of them hurts the tourism industry’s bottom line, said a market researcher at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism this week.
“Whatever percentage of Michigan’s business now is weddings, it could be increased by including LGBTs. Certainly within the state but those who have family here, etc. I think that there’s a lot of opportunity,” said Thomas Roth, president of San Francisco-based Community Marketing, Inc.
He presented a session at the conference, making the business case to hotels interested in marketing to LGBT people.
In a September 2014 survey CMI conducted, they asked 3,503 members of the LGBT community about their travel habits.
No Michigan cities ranked in a top 20 list of leisure destinations for gay and bisexual men. No Michigan cities ranked in the top 20 for lesbian and bisexual women, either.
Wedding travel aside, Michigan is missing out on general LGBT leisure travel due to its marriage prohibition, Roth said.
“So it’s a double-edged sword because on one hand you’re not getting that (wedding) business. On the other hand gays and lesbians are probably not coming here for holiday or vacation as much as they would because it’s not an inclusive state when there’s 37 other choices, right?” Roth said.