Mexico is wrapping itself in the rainbow flag. Thirteen destinations have been officially certified as LGBT-friendly.
To capture a bigger share of the LGBT travel market for both leisure and business—valued at $211 billion in 2016—Mexican tourism authorities intensified the focus on this lucrative segment two years ago, introducing a dedicated program of training and supplier certification, including education and marketing advice for city tourism offices, tour operators and hoteliers.
Nearly 3 million LGBT travelers visit Mexico every year, according to estimates from Mexican Secretary of Tourism. Among the top 10 destinations in Latin America for the LGBT market, Mexico is home to four: Cancun, Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara. Puerto Vallarta is recognized as the original LGBT-welcoming destination in Mexico, and more than a decade ago earned repute as “gay capital of Mexico”. Mexico City is considered today’s foremost center of LGBT rights.
“Mexico’s doing a lot of things to increase LGBT travel,” said Ivan Martinez-Vega, northeast director for the Mexico Tourism Board, who is also heading the strategy to increase the number of LGBT travelers. “Over the past two years, the federal government has been developing a certification program for suppliers.”
The 13 certified destinations: Puerto Vallarta, Morelos, Guerrero (including Acapulco, Ixtapa-Zihuatenejo and Taxco), Oaxaca, Mexico City, Puebla, Veracruz, Guadalajara, Tequila, Tlaquepaque, Morelia, San Miguel de Allende and Riviera Maya.
The program aims to both make these destinations more competitive among LGBT travelers and offer improved experiences for LGBT visitors throughout the country.