‘A study into travel motivation choices among the male gay community in Edinburgh’
Understanding holiday motivations plays a vital role in the tourism and travel industry. The reason or reasons which lead people to take a trip may derive from diverse factors, taking into account their needs and expectations and the specifics of the travel market. In recent years, the gay travel market has gained visibility and become recognised as a growth sector in the tourism industry. However, an understanding of gay travel motivations specifically is controversial due to a lack of research conducted in this field. The limited research available on the gay travel industry reveals that there are gaps in the literature that need future examination. The main purpose of this study is to develop an understanding of travel motivations and factors that influence holiday destination choices among the gay male community in Edinburgh. This research will explore factors that have an impact on gay men when searching for holiday destinations and those include: expression of sexual identity, the existence of gay friendly spaces, sexual opportunities, use of technology, safety and security and anti-discrimination laws. The existing literature review provides additional knowledge on this subject; however, those studies often seem to be limited to research within gay-welcoming destination. Therefore, it is important to understand gay male travellers’ motivations among those in the gay community who do not holiday in gay friendly destinations. The study uses qualitative analysis in order to gain insights into the travel motivations among gay male travellers. Semi-structured interview questions were developed to obtain in-depth data from face to face interviews. During the analysis process data was drawn into the themes and coded to draw deeper meaning from the collected data. The results of this investigation show that there are different motivation drivers apparent when contrasting the previous literature with the findings obtained from this case study. Furthermore, the main travel motivations among the gay male community in Edinburgh appear not to diverge significantly from the broader population. As such, the factors that influence their motivations contradict previous studies and suggest that gay man who live in a gay-friendly home environment may have different motivation factors from those who cannot easily express their sexuality on a daily basis. An In-depth investigation of gay male travel motivations helps to highlight the needs and expectations behind their holidays choices. Therefore, this investigation is essential to develop a better understanding of this niche market and to further develop tourism and hospitality services that will match those fundamental needs.