03 Apr

Comment: Find LGBT-friendly honeymoon hot spots

On July 17 last year, the House of Commons passed a law legalising marriage between same-sex couples in England and Wales.

This represented a significant move forward in equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Before this, same-sex couples could only register a civil partnership.

The legislation came into force at midnight last Saturday, and the first same-sex marriages took place shortly afterwards around the country.

As always with weddings, there will also be an appetite for honeymoons. It is important that travel professionals have an awareness of LGBT-friendly honeymoon destinations – and, perhaps more importantly, of destinations where gay couples may not be assured a positive reception.

LGBT-friendly destinations

Last week Abta provided suggestions for destinations in the UK and overseas where newly-married LGBT couples can expect a warm welcome, with old favourites such as Brighton and San Francisco joined by newer choices such as Puerto Vallarta and Tel Aviv.

Others include Cape Town, Phuket, and Sitges in Spain, as well as emerging destinations such as Montpelier in France and Florianopolis in Brazil.

Many couples will be looking to travel professionals for inspiration and the list of LGBT honeymoon destinations on Abta.com provides a useful starting point.

However, there are destinations that do not have similar views to the UK when it comes to same-sex relationships. In some countries certain acts and behaviours are illegal and carry the risk of prosecution and imprisonment, or LGBT couples may encounter hostility from local people.

Follow FCO advice

Countries where the law discriminates against LGBT people are not honeymoon destinations, and customers must be made aware.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice contains a section on LGBT travel and is an essential source of important information when booking a honeymoon or other holiday for LGBT customers.

Helping LGBT couples to make properly informed choices plays an important role in ensuring greater social inclusion and avoiding potential discriminatory behaviour.

Travel firms should be aware of cultural sensitivities, so that their honeymoon is memorable for all the right reasons.

Anti-LGBT attitudes are widely regarded as unacceptable in the UK, but this is not always the case in other parts of the world.

Nikki's comment was published by Travel Weekly