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Holidays of older gay men: age or sexual orientation as decisive factors?

Hughes, Howard L. and Deutsch, Richard (2010) Holidays of older gay men: age or sexual orientation as decisive factors? Tourism Management, 31 (4). pp. 454-463. ISSN 0261-5177

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Abstract

Studies of holidays by gay men and lesbians reflect the characteristics and tourism profiles of younger persons. Invariably such studies show intensive holiday-taking and a desire for gay space when on holiday. Existing specialist product offer is targeted at this younger market by a small number of specialist tour operators. In this UK-based study, the requirements and current holiday profile of older gay men were examined. Studies of older gay men identified various views about lifestyles including both lonely, closeted individuals and well-adjusted individuals with surrogate families. Studies of ‘mainstream’ senior tourists implied intensive and experiential holiday-taking. On the basis of this literature it was postulated that the tourism profile of older gay men would be ‘positive’. The study was undertaken through interviews conducted with 23 men over the age of 35. It was concluded that holiday requirements were similar to those of other older people but with the further dimension of gay-friendliness. Informants felt there were opportunities for specialist and other tour operators to develop products and for destinations to be positioned appropriately for an older gay man's market.

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